Facebook App Helps Newspaper Get 1 Million New Readers Within 3 Weeks
When Facebook launched their new platform on the 22nd of September at their F8 conference, one app that stood out for me was the Social Reader from the Washington Post. I wrote about it here and what amazed me was the way in which the content could spread at pace via the new ticker and the social way in which others could see what you were reading.
Now just three weeks later, that app is about to hit one million users in what has to be one of the most explosive growth spurts and acquisitions of new readers by a newspaper in the history of publishing.
It remains to be seen if those readers will keep using the app but what this does show is that Facebook could become a huge new distribution channel for publishers. With discovery of new content being the key and given that all the action happens within Facebook, this has to be a huge worry for Google+ even if it is only early days.
As you can see from the graph below, the app is about to hit one million users which is remarkable for a newspaper within just three weeks. Of course, it’s very early days and a lot of users like myself could just be trying it out the new service.
I certainly don’t use it on a daily basis because the news focuses on the US but if there was a similar version here in Ireland or the UK, I could see myself using it daily. Given how much trouble traditional newspaper sales are experiencing now, any glimmer of hope like this should be explored as the ability to sell advertising against a million users should not be underestimated.
A New Frontier For News?
The news gets shaped on Twitter these days with journalists using it for sources, citizen journalism taking over and links getting shared. Having said that, with Facebook closing in on a billion users and people spending large amounts of time on the site, this app shows that it could be a new frontier for people to read content.
The biggest loser could be Google (who have never had a great relationship with publishers) and the biggest winner could be the publishers themselves who desperately need to tap into the one billion Facebook users. It’s too early to say what will happen but the experiment described in the video below by the chairman of the company has certainly hit the ground running. Watch this space.