While some media observers have noted that Thomson Reuters (www.thomsonreuters.com) was lagging its news rivals AP and Bloomberg in releasing mobile apps, the company has certainly kicked into high gear this year, releasing new mobile applications, not just in its news division but also in its legal, markets, and investment and advisory solutions divisions. "Mobile services are increasingly becoming a priority across the entire company," says Alisa Bowen, senior vice president and head of consumer publishing at Thomson Reuters. And she stressed the company's intention to be device agnostic. It's all about enabling access to Thomson Reuters' content "anytime, anyplace, and anyway." And, increasingly, that content is multimedia.
In May, the company released the Thomson Reuters News Pro mobile applications for the BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone. The free apps provide business news and information for business professionals. Since then, Bowen says the iPhone app has surpassed 120,000 downloads while the BlackBerry app has reached 70,000. In addition, mobile webpage views are 10% of Reuters' total online traffic and are growing at approximately 50% year-over-year; mobile web ad revenue is growing at 30% year-over-year. "The downloads certainly surpassed our expectations," says Bowen. The promotional campaign included an obviously effective billboard on the Thomson Reuters' building in New York's Times Square. She also says that Apple promoted the Reuters' iPhone application via iTunes-for which the company was grateful.
Bowen says that Thomson Reuters is currently working to develop additional language interface versions of the mobile apps, as well as extending to a number of additional devices-Android, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile, and others. The company plans to develop a range of premium subscription apps as well. She also noted that Thomson Reuters was looking at the e-reader space. She thinks the E Ink-based readers, such as Amazon's Kindle and others, will have a "fairly dramatic effect" in the market in 2010.
Here in the U.S., we haven't yet seen the latest Thomson Reuters buzz about mobile. Building on its long-standing relationship with Nokia, the company was pleased that the newly developed Reuters Picture Slideshow comes preloaded on the Nokia N97 phone. The launch date for the product in Europe and India was July 1. It is not yet available in the U.S. The touchscreen allows users to scroll through a pictures-only approach to the news. "We're experimenting with how to package news for mobile devices," says Bowen. You can see a demo at http://clients.tui.co.uk/reuters_slideshow/index.html, and the accompanying photo shows the Nokia marketing, with Reuters featured along with the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and Friendster.
"This is the latest in a series of mobile stories for Thomson Reuters," says Bowen. Business professionals are increasingly using mobile devices, and the company aims to provide what is needed.
In April, the company's legal division, West, introduced a Black's Law Dictionary application for the iPhone and iPod touch. It is available on the App Store in Apple's iTunes for $49.99.
In early July, Thomson Reuters unveiled a mobile application specifically aimed at meeting the needs of the investment banking community. Thomson ONE Mobile for Investment Banking is described as an "on-the-go financial application for investment bankers and analysts" made available on the BlackBerry smartphone. It follows the launch of Thomson ONE Mobile for Investment Management and will be followed by a mobile application for Corporate Services in late 2009, which the company says "is further proof of our commitment to delivering must have content to decision makers across the financial and corporate markets."
Back to that history of R&D with Nokia: In October 2007, Nokia Research Center and Reuters introduced a mobile journalism application designed to transform how journalists filed stories in the field. The mobile application allowed reporters to file and publish multimedia news stories from handheld devices rather than laptops. The toolkit was dubbed Reuters MoJo (mobile journalism). Select Reuters journalists around the world made use of the application in their everyday work to edit, combine, and file text, images, sound, and live and recorded video streams, producing and publishing multimedia stories of broadcast quality without needing to return to the studio or office. News material from the trial has been used on Reuters.com sites and by Reuters news agency feeds.