Circa, a mobile news reader for iOS and Android which, to date, has focused on offering users short, easily digestible news stories that allow you to more quickly consume news while on the go, is making a notable change to its service today: it’s expanding to the web. On a new website at CircaNews.com, the company is taking its summarized news stories to the big screen in an effort to cater to users’ “mobile lifestyles,” the company says, rather than just delivering its content to their mobile devices.
That is, the idea with the web version of Circa is to offer users a way to read the news in brief as they move in between their devices – laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone. While Circa’s apps are meant to be read as you have a few minutes of downtime and are away from your PC, the website version of the news service is something you could pull up as you have lunch at your desk, or when you want to check in on the top stories before you start your day, for example.
The company believes the website will also help generate more exposure for its mobile applications, which may be struggling to find their audience. According to data from App Annie, its iOS app is today ranked #91 in the U.S. News category on the App Store, and its Google Play app is #238 in the U.S. News & Magazines category. Today, many mobile users are still turning to news brands they already know, including both old and new media, like CNN, Fox News, BuzzFeed, Aol, NYT, WSJ, Yahoo and others.
Meanwhile, other news summarizers and aggregators like Yahoo News Digest and Google News & Weather are more highly ranked, and newcomer SmartNews, which promises “all your news in seconds” has quickly become one of the top apps for catching up on the go, holding the #3 spot in the News category on iTunes.
Circa declined to detail its user numbers on mobile.
Circa’s decision to expand to the web follows that of another news magazine, Flipboard, which also brought its mobile-first social news reader to the web earlier this month, saying the experience would allow them to showcase news stories in a different way that readers were used to on traditional news sites, while also offering the company a new way to generate ad revenue in the future.
Similarly, with Circa’s web version, users are presented with a different type of interface for consuming news – one that’s focused on letting you quickly peruse the short summaries, optionally clicking into those you want to read more about, and clicking “follow story” to receive updates about the story’s development on both the web or your smartphone as more information becomes available.
The “follow story” option, which is one of Circa’s more differentiated features, is also something that can help re-engage users as they move from web to their mobile devices. And by connecting it with an online property, it could potentially boost app usage.
Circa’s move to the web could allow it, too, to eventually monetize via advertisements, but the company tells us it has no plans to do so at launch, but will move into this space in either Q2 or Q3.