When it launched a mobile news portal in early May, the AP Mobile News Network included 107 member newspapers. Today, 728 have signed up; that’s a nearly 600% jump in just over two months.
Jeffrey Litvack, AP global director for new media markets, and the guy in charge of the Mobile News Network, said this vast increase in participation is a “validation of the desire of newspapers to go mobile.” But it’s more than that, Litvack told MobileContentToday at the IAB Leadership Forum: Mobile in New York on Monday. The Mobile News Network represents a commitment to give end users all the news they want together in a single portal.
The initial Web-based application, as well as the new downloadable version, were both designed for the iPhone, but now the AP is working with Verve Wireless to optimize it and create customized templates for other smartphones, such as the BlackBerry and Palm Treo, Litvack said.
Additional plans for the MNN include launching some form of vertical apps for end users who want to focus more on a specific category like sports or politics. They’ve started testing the concept with an “elections tool” for political junkies that can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store.
One statistic Litvack told us was somewhat surprising. Trashing the notion that most consumers primarily visit the mobile Web while commuting or during lunch breaks, the MNN sees a fairly steady stream of traffic throughout the day.
The Mobile News Network Web app is at www.apnews.com. The iPhone application is a free download from the App Store on iTunes.