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ABC forges into new media space with launch of longform tablet App ‘The Brief’

The BriefThe ABC has launched its ambitious longform tablet app The Brief today as the first multimedia tablet publication to be developed by a public broadcaster.

Angela Clark, head of ABC Innovation, has driven the creation of the app with editor Matt Buchanan, a former news editor at Fairfax Media’s Sydney Morning Herald, joining as editor in February to work alongside associate editor Julia Baird of ABC’s The Drum and a small team of just four permanent editorial staff, including one designer.

Clark says the app is the first of its kind to be developed from a broadcast perspective, and draws from the ABC’s archive of footage from television and radio broadcasts to enhance and expand the depth of its stories be they news, features, reviews, commentary or analysis.

As a weekly publication Buchanan said it will not be their goal to break news, but rather explore current affairs in more creative ways, giving the reader and viewer a chance to look back at events that occurred throughout the week and get a clear overview with the opportunity to also explore stories more deeply.

The first issue features an article by Quentin Dempster on Politics: The Awful Truth, on the ICAC inquiry, as well as a film review, an extensive report from the foreign desk on the Indian election, and an article exploring the reasons for Australia’s high piracy of Game of Thrones.

As the app forges into new territory Clark stressed the launch does not mark the end of their learning experience as they will seek feedback from readers to work out the right balance of articles and give audiences what they want, on the devices they are using, and share their experiences and learnings on a blog.

“There are a few other things out there but there is nothing quite like this,” Buchanan said.

Clark added: “It’s important for us to know what is and what isn’t working. There is a lot of really exciting stuff on tablets but the difference with this is seeing what a broadcaster can bring because we are not just using it as a redistribution channel, we are trying to put it together in a different way.”

The pair would not reveal internal targets for download rates but Clark said the app is aimed at readers aged 30 and above and hopes to draw in audiences who may not already be familiar with the ABC.

It is available to download for free with the latest three issues available to download at any one time. The first has been made available in the Apple App store today as the Android version has not yet been launched. To download it search for The Brief in the app store or click here.

Megan Reynolds

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