Trove is Changing How the World Receives News
Fifty years from now, the world may look back on Trove as the media service that changed the way the world receives its news.
Created as a project by the company's WaPo Labs, Trove.com is a personalized news site that scours 10,000 relevant news feeds from across the Internet for stories that interest the reader. The site currently allows users to connect through their Facebook page, giving the website even more tools with which to select the absolute best, most interesting content for each individual user.
Vijay Ravindran, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of The Washington Post Company, gave Benzinga an exclusive interview this week to talk about his role in creating the revolutionary news and social media aggregation site.
“Trove is built off a very simple principle that readers have many different interests. Those interests span from stocks and mutual funds and technology areas in the case of your listeners to sports teams and personalities and TV shows. Today there's not really a good one place where you can get news on all those interest areas in one spot conveniently,” Ravindran said.
Well, there was no place to have all your interest areas show up on one website. Now there is.
“With Trove, if you go to Trove.com and connect via Facebook you will come to a website where an initial set of interests based off your Facebook profile and then you can further add additional interests from a variety of mechanisms including a very simple search bar – so that you can build a personalized homepage of news that you can check with whatever frequency you want to check so that you know what's going on across your interests,” Ravindran said.
The Trove platform is available on any number of devices, from web browsers to phone platforms, including Androids, Blackberrys, and iPhones. “ If users are being asked to spend time setting up a Trove account with their interests and getting their news through Trove – it has to be everywhere. It can't just be on a website or just on an ipad or just on their phone,” he said.
The creation of the Trove website began with a simple question, Ravindran said. Donald Graham, CEO of the Washington Post company, asked Ravindran “Why can't news be more like Amazon.com and Netflix?” The idea was to develop a website where “personalization can help drive – allowing consumers to get the right content in front of them,” Ravindran said.
Trove, launched in April, comes at a challenging time for the traditional newspaper media. Readers are turning to the internet for their news needs, a trend that simultaneously increased the expectations of readers for constant, immediate information and, with the switch over to lower-priced online advertising, decreased the ability of news organizations to offer massive amounts of content.
Add to that revenue dilemma the reality that for every professional newspaper, there are a hundreds of bloggers willing to rehash the day's news and commentary for free. Keeping news-gathering profitable — of all the things news organizations do, it is the main task that bloggers cannot feasibly do for free — while also providing access to the tens of thousands of content pages is a challenge facing all media organizations.
The Washington Post may have answered that challenge with Trove.
“There has to be a business model of the future for original content creation. That's something that we at the Washington post spend a lot of time thinking about, because the core challenge is that, in addition to having to hold readers' attention and build quality products, is that there needs to be a business model underpinning it that can support original content creation to whatever extent it can,” Ravindran said.
Ravindran and the Washington Post team is not finished with yet, nor are they resting on their current success.
“Trove will continue to be a place where we experiment and launch new ideas that are not just related to personalized news,” Ravindran said.
This is where the story gets really interesting. According to Ravindran, the Post has plans to bring ideas and concepts from the Trove platform to both the traditional Washington Post brand and its online magazine Slate. The media world might want to pay attention to what the Post is doing here, because it has the potential to revolutionize the entire industry.
“I was brought to the Washington Post company to look at new product opportunities and new ventures as well as helping our existing main online businesses – Slate and Washington Post.com – develop new strategies for engaging and monetizing and creating a viable business to support the business of journalism,” he said.
In terms of both the digital and print media spaces, Ravindran said, “Where are things going? I think there is a big convergence across personalization, social, and editorial judgments, and the winning products are going to be products that really fuse those three together in a great experience.”
Be sure to check out the audio of the interview in its entirety: WaPo's Vijay Ravindran on Trove, the Post's new social news platform
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