It’s hailing news apps

Fairfax Media is expanding its portable news repertoire, last week announcing the launch of its first Android app for Stuff.co.nz. That means “more people than ever can get up to date with Stuff’s award winning news on the go”, according to Fairfax digital general manager Nigel Tutt.

Fairfax says the new Android app, which is free to download, will feature the most popular news sections from stuff.co.nz and will enable users to report the news on the go or take on assignments set by the Stuff.co.nz team. Users will also be able to share stories via email, Twitter and Facebook, look up weather and view videos and photo galleries within the story, or in full screen.

Stuff.co.nz’s biggest local competitor, nzherald.co.nz, isn’t too far off a similar offering. APN Online general manager and nzherald.co.nz publisher Spencer Bailey has confirmed its Android news app is currently in production and will be released shortly in May.

He says the app will be similar to Stuff’s in regards to content, and like Stuff’s, it will be free to download. Free general news apps, according to Bailey, are something APN believes in. But when it comes to more specialised and unique content, that’s a whole different story. Bailey says more niche areas potentially provide an opportunity to charge, “but the content has to be unique”. And it’s an area he says is currently being explored by APN.

Being first off the block in the news app race has been a varied story for both Stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz. While the nzherald.co.nz only recently launched its iPhone app, it was the first to offer a news app for the iPad, releasing the well-received app in July last year. Meanwhile Stuff.co.nz was the first to launch an iPhone news app, doing so in October last year in conjunction with the release of its iPad app.

Both nzherald.co.nz and Stuff.co.nz have received awards for their efforts. Last year nzherald.co.nz’s iPad app took home a bronze at the  2010 WAN-IRFA Asian Digital Media Awards. Meanwhile, Stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz have both been selected as ‘Official Honorees’ in the news category in the 15th Annual Webby Awards. Both nzherald.co.nz and stuff.co.nz are also finalists in the ‘Media Brand of the Year’ category the CAANZ media awards.

And while we’re soaking in app news, here’s a bit more, also courtesy Fairfax, who has announced the launch of its RugbyHeaven.co.nz Super Rugby app. The new app will provide Super Rugby news, comment and interaction courtesy of what Fairfax Media chief executive Allen Williams descirbes as the “cross-channel integration of content” from Stuff.co.nz and RugbyHeaven.co.nz. But this ain’t no freebie. While the first four weeks are free, subscribers will need to make a one off payment of $2.59 for access to full coverage and content for the whole 2011 Super Rugby tournament.



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