The addition of an advertising component to the iPhone and other Mobile News Network applications has generated significant feedback from users – largely negative. At present, an ad-supported model is our best option to provide MNN apps free to the user. However, we recognize that ads can be frustrating and we’d like to explain why advertising is a necessary component, at least for now.
The AP is a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative. The Mobile News Network is part of an initiative aimed at finding new digital outlets for news and information produced by AP members. It’s designed to offer users access to local and national news from trusted sources and it makes AP members competitive in the mobile news business.
Ads on the Mobile News Network allow us to supply you with the best possible comprehensive news application on the market. We’ve gone to great lengths to make the user experience a positive one as we understand that a mobile device is very personal. We’re happy to see that user reviews and media coverage of the MNN have been overwhelmingly positive.
Developing mobile applications, especially native client applications, is a very costly proposition. They require not only start-up capital but ongoing investment in maintenance, upgrading operating systems, developing new features, building new releases and delivery platforms, etc. The MNN is not a one-time, self-contained, downloaded app, but a live application that ingests content from a central system on a real-time basis. Multiply this by multiple carriers, device manufacturers and operating systems and you can start to understand the complexity and costs involved. AP has a responsibility to operate the cooperative efficiently for its members and is not in a position to underwrite or fully subsidize these costs.
Mobile screens vary in size but there is limited real-estate available for ads. We continually work to make ads on the MNN as unobtrusive as possible while ensuring they’re an effective vehicle for advertisers. We plan to monitor and make changes as necessary in future releases to maintain this balance. Currently the ads on the MNN disappear quickly and move to the end of the story you are on. We may explore other options in the future.
Some users have said they’d prefer a paid application as an alternative to the ad-supported model. We have been exploring, and will continue to explore, this path and invite you to participate in a user poll so that we can better gauge the appetite for paid applications.
We encourage you to watch this blog for new information about the MNN applications, including information about how we’ll handle ads in upcoming releases. We sincerely appreciate your continued support of the Mobile News Network and look forward to your feedback in the future.
– Michael Boord , Deputy Director, Mobile Operations