Vivian Schiller, President and CEO, NPR; Jacob Weisberg, Chairman, The Slate Group, interviewer
iPhone and Android apps very successful and so needed to do a good iPad app. iPhone app looked terrible when blown up so had to build it from scratch. Rather than look at website or iPhone app developers looked at iPad form factor by itself and designed it purely for the iPad. Built app in 3 weeks because all their content in API and so was very easy to build. Having an API allowed outside people to build their own apps.
Too soon to know how people are using the app: information or listening. NPR is primarily a news organization and this enforces that mission. Don’t mind competing with other large news organizations. NPR dominates news on radio. No other place to go for serious journalism on radio. Part of mission is to make their content as widely available as possible. Won’t be going to print or video. Video is opportunistic.
Apple doesn’t allow the donation of money through the app for any non-profit organization. Trying to get Apple to change their mind as would like to take donations through the app.
30% of usage on iPhone is to listen to local station stream. Don’t know about iPad app yet.
About 2 seconds into what will be a long history of tablets and the media. Not too many apps created with the iPad in mind. A lot of big companies just used their iPhone app and this leads to disappointment. Doesn’t work well just to scale up an iPhone app.
Betting on radio. Radio is listening to a local outlet seamlessly and that includes internet as well as over the air. The experience is still the same, but there may be different business consequences between the two. The delivery mechanism isn’t as important as ensuring a good listening experience.
Obsessive about researching their audience: who they are, what they want and what they are doing. Not competing with magazines or television. Have a distinct voice and can co-exist with all the others. All 300 journalists have gone through digital training. Right now have writers who help journalists re-craft their stories for the web. Hopefully, this won’t be necessary in the future.
As move to digital platforms need to figure out a way to keep the audience connection with the local station as they need to raise funds on a local basis.