Samsung and Axel Springer roll out first news product

The consumer electronics group and Europe’s leading digital publisher announced this week they would collaborate to develop new media services, exclusively for European consumers.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | September 2, 2015

Thursday sees the start of the release in Germany and Poland of ‘Upday’, a smartphone news app developed by Samsung and Axel Springer.

In what seems to mark the first stage of a response to ‘Apple News‘, which is due for release at the end of the month, ‘Upday’ will be rolled out to the rest of Europe in 2016.

The official press release says “Upday will offer Samsung customers access to a range of news content that combines ‘Need to Know’ information selected by a local market editorial team and ‘Want to Know’ information, an algorithm-based service tailored to customers’ individual interests.” In spite of heavy competition from various other aggregated news platforms, Axel Springer and Samsung hope their bespoke editorial content will differentiate ‘Upday’ from other news apps.

In the statement, the President and CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe, Young Hoon Eom said: “With Axel Springer’s digital publishing heritage and our mobile expertise, we’re confident that, together, we can deliver ground-breaking content and services that will excite and delight our respective customers.”…

More than half of Axel Springer’s group revenues and nearly three quarters of all profits are now generated by digital activities. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, was confident that their partnership with Samsung would be progressive and offer “fantastic technological opportunities for journalism in the digital age”.

Mathias DöpfnerMathias DöpfnerJournalism is now more dependent than ever on new apps and digital platforms for distribution. Examples of these include the personalised HTC ‘Blinkfeed’ news interface, Facebook Instant Articles and Snapchat Discover.

In a Nieman Lab article, Joshua Benton wrote “the broader narrative is clear: Individual news apps and individual news brands aren’t the primary point of contact with news any more. They’re raw material, feeding into broader platforms. The loss of power for publishers in that exchange is obvious; the potential benefits remain most undiscovered.”

The increased integration of journalism and technology has also fuelled conflict between the two. A key example of this is Axel Springer’s long-running fight with Google’s use of its own ‘news snippets’, which, according to the publishing company, it did not have the rights to publish. Whilst the ‘Upday’ app will feature content from non-Axel Springer publishers in ‘The Want to Know’ section, the company has assured it will be paying the ancillary copyright for press publishers, unlike Google.

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