News Republic adds personal briefings on world affairs

9th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Thriving mobile application News Republic added a digest feature Thursday briefing news junkies on topics they care about in just three minutes.

"It is like getting a personalized presidential briefing on the news every day," News Republic founder Gilles Raymond told AFP.

"In the past, we provided the smorgasbord of news. Now, we are digesting it for you."

News Republic has won an international following by using artificial intelligence to tailor feeds to individual interests.

The news application sets itself apart by making partnerships with media organizations, AFP's international news wire among them, to deliver full access to content instead of crawling the Web and then posting links to stories at various sites.

The startup uses artificial intelligence behind the scenes to get to know people's interests and continually refine news feeds to suit.

- Enticing news tidbits -

More than a thousand news providers reportedly have syndication deals with News Republic, which splits ad revenue evenly with outlets and makes its mobile application free to whomever wants it.

News Republic boasts 12 million unique monthly visitors who collectively log more than a half billion page views in that same period of time.

The application is available in eight countries, and the number of users has grown sixfold in the past nine months, according to Raymond.

Versions of the software have been crafted for smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.

The startup would not disclose earnings details other than to say its prime focus for now is building its audience. But it is profitable in France, where it launched in 2010.

Along with serving up news tuned to personal tastes, the application entices readers with related tidbits.

"You have the right to be focused on a pop star, but we have the duty to share information about other big news you need to be aware of," Raymond said.

The formula is proving successful, with readers eagerly exploring connections between topics and stories, according to the startup, which has headquarters in France and San Francisco.

"I know the news industry is going through tough times, but if you look at the big picture, you have never seen so many people spending so much time consuming news," said Raymond, a confessed idealist.

"I'm not coming from the news business, but I find that news is the most beautiful content; it is a fundamental of civilization and democracy."

© 2014 AFP

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