Sky News comes to iPad

Sky News has launched an iPad app that allows users to control their own interactive news service, supported by a dedicated editorial team.  The app gives you a new way to get your news: live video, expert analysis and rich interactive graphics.

The main screen is a timeline, showing the major news stories and bulletins from the day. Tap on a bulletin and you get a video which can be enlarged for easier viewing. Where the Sky News app is really clever is when there’s additional information, as in the case of the Libya and Japan stories. If there is additional information is is arrayed around the central video, inviting you to tap on it and explore the background to the video you are watching.

What I often find when watching content on, say, the BBC News website, is that I want to open a link to read some of the background but forget that by doing so I will also navigate away from the video content. With Sky News for iPad, the video shrinks into the corner of the screen and continues to play, allowing you to explore without interrupting your viewing.

Should you wish, you can also watch the live feed of what’s happening on Sky News right now. Let’s say you choose to do that, and realise you’ve missed the beginning of an item… well, you can choose to rewind to before you started watching and see what you missed.

It all feels very┬áslick, and despite not being a big watcher of news programmes (I prefer to read it), I’ve found myself firing up the app to find out what’s happening with certain events. I actually think the Sky News app is a good template for how content makers should be moving with iPad magazines – rather than just doing an electronic copy of a mag, why not fill it with interactive and video content?

Sky News for iPad is available for free from the App Store on iPad. The app will continue be free, but moves to a paid, monthly subscription in the near future for non-Sky customers, available through In-App Purchase. Sky customers will continue to be able to access the app’s content as part of their Sky subscription.

Further information can be found on the Sky News for iPad website at http://www.skynews.com/ipad.

Have you tried Sky News for iPad? If so, what did you think? Do you see this as a good direction for media providers to take? Could this be a good direction for iPad magazines as well? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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