How do you get the news? Chances are the answer is through social media. This is a big change to the news consumption of the past like tv and newspaper. As a result, we have all gotten used to the news being free. Everyone can access it any time through their smartphone regardless of the quality. Social media is a big part of news these days as we open our phones over 14 times a day to check our favourite platforms. Our behaviour has changed to news accessing permanently, but rarely thoroughly as we create echo chambers for ourselves. Many of us now subscribe to a number of respectable news sites at a cost. But at what time do these subscriptions add up to become more hassle then they are worth? How do you get news that is not only relevant to you but from safe sources and how do you only pay one? Well, that’s where Newsadoo comes in.
David Böhm started Newsadoo back in 2017 when he decided he had enough of the likes of Google and Facebook conquering the market and dividing up the advertising revenues between them. Alongside his co-founders Alexandra Auböck and Susanna Wurm he linked up with other like-minded parties to create Newsadoo. The service they provide is not unlike Spotify, bundling a bunch of newspapers and news providers together while using AI to analyse your preferences to deliver you best possible experience. At the Dublin Tech Summit, some heralded them as one of the most exciting startups in the Artificial Intelligence space. It’s hard to disagree with them and believe we when I say it’s very similar to Spotify, just swap the tunes with the news and there you go.
Changes in the news
As we mentioned earlier how we consume news has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. While this meant that papers no longer had delays in printing, no longer has distribution costs but it also meant people expected the news for free. This quicker turnover of news meant new players entered the game, sure competition is good but when it’s at the expense of quality and reliability that’s a problem.
Despite spending heavily and earning good viewership numbers on social media, it has not proved possible for these old school news agencies to translate reach into revenue. Sometimes we will see some newpapers offering premium content, where you pay to read that article, now most of the time we just back out and find the story elsewhere. But sure how do we know that source is right? We have gotten used to going onto Facebook, Twitter or Google to find our news for free. But is it free? Well as we have learnt from recent social media scandals, nothing is ever truly free.
Google and Facebook, have benefited from us consuming their news independent of place and time via our phones. As a result of Google now has higher annual advertising revenues that the rest of the publishing industry in the world….combined.
Paywalls, paywalls and more paywalls
This massive generation of capital for the likes of Facebook and Google has traditional media in a pickle. Income from advertisers is not enough to sustain them and that’s in a nutshell why we see those pesky paywalls. Most of us see that pop up to subscribe or pay to continue reading and we bail. Let’s not lie to ourselves here. Other sites have tried another method where you can read 5,10 or 15 articles for free before paying for more, this way only the real fans would pay. Each paywall works differently and the technology is rarely shared, meaning that each paywall is developed from scratch for each media outlet. This just makes things really complicated and they probably aren’t the solution long-term.
Newsadoo believes people are willing to pay for quality content, and they are right just ask either Netflix or Spotify. They also believe the news industry should be no different. So for a price, users can access unlimited content from a range of different sources in exchange for a monthly fee when they launch in Ireland in September.
Essentially, become an online subscriber on one platform and get all the content, job done.
And how does this all work?
The objective is to create a news platform for personalised news, but one that differs from Google News by taking as a basis the collaboration and participation of the publishing companies. It is only by acting together that it is possible to challenge the American giant.
That’s a fairly solid quote from David Böhm, but what he forgets to mention is that Newsadoo is also in accordance with the EU values in relation to data protection. Lot more than could be said about other companies we know about that aren’t exactly in accordance…cough cough, Facebook, cough cough.
Costs and Release
Ok, so right now there is a Beta version of Newsadoo that is available free of charge that I’m messing around with after meeting David at the Dublin Tech Summit. It’s been available since June last year but we are waiting on the apps and the Alexa skills for the time being. This is why their full roll-out won’t be happening until September, well at least on our shores that is.
The start-up plans to introduce the pay-for function in the autumn. Then it will be possible to consume directly on the platform. While the current, free-of-charge basic subscription includes advertising, the pay-for version will offer users an ad-free option. Pricing we aren’t sure on yet but when we know so will you, but my bet is €7,99 a month.
Is this the only way?
Nope, there is another company offering a new pay as you read system. Blendle from Holland you could almost class as the iTunes of news. They work by offering a wide range of US news outlets and charge you anything from 25 to 50cent per story. If you’re only an occasional reader this could be a worthy alternative.
The Goosed Verdict
When you think about it Newsadoo makes a lot of sense. Imagine having to pay for each tv channel individually through a direct payment, where you can only access it through their platform, with a username and password for each channel? Annoying right. Well, when you think about it that’s exactly what people do online now to access content from reputable sources not unlike digital newspapers. Wouldn’t you rather pay once and get all of your subscriptions in one? That’s essentially Newsadoo in nutshell.