Trinity Mirror launches free news aggregation app Perspecs linking through to other publishers

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Trinity Mirror has moved into news aggregation with the launch of a free app linking through to other websites, including rivals.

Perspecs, available as both an Apple and Android app, aims to present "three sides to a news story" with short snippets from, and links to, website articles.

Each day, the app publishes a list of ten topics with three aggregated stories attached.

For instance, one of today's topics is titled: "Is football too pricey?" This topic has three attached articles: one providing the background, from the Daily Mail website; one arguing no, from the BBC; and one saying yes, from the Football Supporters Federation.

The app, developed by Trinity Mirror's product team, allows users to read a short part of the article – around three paragraphs – before offering a "read full article" link to the source. 

Trinity Mirror said Perspecs allows "users to switch between different news sources presenting differing views – for example the neutral, left and right wing political perspective of the same story, or a home, away or neutral report on a football result".

Websites linked through to today include The Guardian, the International Business Times, the Telegraph and Football365. No topics lead through to Mirror articles today.

Yesterday's edition did offer one link through to the Mirror as well as the Daily Express, Independent, Huffington Post, UKIP's website and City AM among others. 

Darren Sher, head of product for Trinity Mirror Regionals, said in a press release that the app “helps users discover new publications they may not have previously considered reading or known about”. He added: “There’s a growing trend of people questioning their news sources. The aim with Perspecs is to offer readers the opportunity to make up their own mind about a story rather than relying on a single source of news."

Asked by Press Gazette how the app will be monetised, Sher said: "Money at the moment is not the biggest priority. We want to build up the audience first and then we'll see what our options are."

Asked what size audience is being targeted, he said: "We don't really have a number in mind. I think it's just seeing how rapidly it grows and what our daily active users look like… What really interests us is once we get the word out how quickly can it grow organically… that's what we'll be looking out for."

Sher said monetisation has "not been fully thought through – I think we're waiting to see what the audience size is like". But he said native advertising and subscriptions could be considered.

He said the app, edited by former Manchester Evening News women's editor Diane Cooke, is "very different" from existing news aggregators because it hand-picks certain areas of interest. 

Asked if it was odd that the app, which does not carry Mirror branding, links through to rivals publishers, Sher said: "I suppose traditionally it would seem like a strange move, but I think it's a great indication of how Trinity Mirror are thinking and how seriously we take innovation.

"Effectively, all publishers are in it together, right, and as I said it's not like traditional aggregators where we're pulling in all content from a publication. It's very much hand-picked."

Sher added: "I suppose it would maybe seem unusual in a traditional sense but I think it's an interesting area to explore.

"And obviously it's very much experimental. I don't know of any other big publishers that have gone into the aggregation space."

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