“The target consumer is a cord cutter.” The Washington Post’s SVP and Chief Digital Officer Vijay Ravindran doesn’t beat around the bush when he is talking about The Fold, a new daily news program launched by his company this week. The Fold is made for people who use Netflix and Hulu, but don’t have any good source for their daily news fix, Ravindran told me during a phone conversation. “There is a great opportunity in the news space” to serve this audience, he added.
The Fold is distributed through PostTV, an Android app that debuted this week on Google TV and Android tablets, and Ravindran told me that the program was made very much with Google TV devices in mind. The show, which runs a total of 15 minutes every night, is split up into several segments, giving viewers the option to either watch the whole thing without any interruption, or skip over the stories that don’t interest them.
Ravindran said that his team followed a mobile-first kind of approach when developing both the show and the app, except that it put the connected TV experience first and then rethought how to make a show that works for it. “We are really working backwards from there,” he said.
A lot of other apps simply take all the video assets of a publisher and make them available on TVs without any additional curation, he lamented. His team on the other hand wanted to build a unique experience that people come back to, much like people used to come home to the evening news. “We are more focused on the daily habit than on one-time use,” Ravindran said, explaining that the app lets users know via Google TV’s notifications whenever a new episode is available.
So why launch on Google TV, as opposed to Roku or maybe even Samsung’s connected TV platform? Ravindran’s answer was refreshingly pragmatic: “We had to start somewhere.” His team had a lot of experience with Android, he added, and developing for Google TV had the benefit that they could also have it work on Andoid tablets without too many modifications. But there will be apps for other platforms as well going forward. Said Ravindran: “We aspire to be on all the platforms that make sense.”
To learn more about cord cutting, check out my ebook Cut the Cord: All You Need to Know to Drop Cable.