Age app takes out international award

Age app takes out international awardPart of an advertisement for The Age tablet app after its world-beating win at the WAN-IFRA World Digital Media Awards

The Age tablet app has beaten out more than 200 international competitors to be recognised as Best Tablet App at the World Digital Media Awards in Amsterdam this week.

The judges at the awards, which are hosted annually by WAN-IFRA and attended by media professionals from across the globe, commended The Age for “producing an outstanding tablet experience for readers old and new”.

They added that the app deserved its high take-up figures, which included an average 60 million page views per month by tens of thousands of readers across more than 5000 cities around the word.

The app and mobile devices have been sources of solid audience growth for The Age, which has a cross-platform reach of 3.4 million people per month according to the latest data from emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia).

The Age also leads Australian digital media for time on site in the latest Nielsen results.

The Age app editor Fergus Shiel said WAN-IFRA’s recognition was a credit to the app’s small production team and to all the reporters, sub-editors, photographers and artists at The Age.

“The crucial element is getting a whole lot of people involved – not just journalists, but artists, photographers, video and technical people – and getting them all to work collaboratively, which is hard,” he said.

“We work extremely hard – we’ve got a small team, but we basically work around the clock, seven days a week.”

Depth of content, design, usability and interactive graphics were all factors in the winning selection, and Mr Shiel cited “currency, vibrancy, variety…and interactivity” as keys to a good tablet app.

Exclusive tablet content, such as The Age’s Movies and Health & Science sections, also have proved to be a winner with readers.

“Originally, we were essentially the paper,” Mr Shiel said. “Now, we are not the paper or online; we are a marriage of both, a bridge between the two.

“People who are traditional newspaper readers have embraced the tablet [equally to] those who prefer online.

“Our readers are incredibly emotional about it and I don’t think that level of affection is attained by the website.”

Mr Shiel said sections like Spectrum were “fantastic on the app because we’re not simply offering what’s in the paper, but what’s in the paper and more – videos, galleries, interactive [features], sound…[including] music premieres.”

International apps including Spain’s El Pais inspire Mr Shiel, who has plans for “more shareability, more live elements, more design features”.

The Age editor Andrew Holden said the award was a deserved recognition of an “incredible” iPad team and backed by “outstanding journalism” from The Age’s digital-first newsroom.

He described it as “a fitting tribute to the dedication of our staff and a ringing endorsement of The Age‘s embrace of digital and online journalism.”

The Age tablet app has attracted awards from Australia and Asia since its launch in 2010, but for Mr Holden the WAN-IFRA award is “the highest recognition for a tablet app”.

WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, represents more than 18,000 publications, including 15,000 online sites, from more than 3000 companies in 120 countries.

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