Tablet users are a bit like owls -- they are most active at night. Or at least that's what ABC News has discovered from usage patterns of its iPad app. That finding was the impetus for the new ABC News iPad app, which is being released today in the Apple App Store.
The app has been totally re-imagined based on internal data which showed that iPad users watch significantly more video at night and are more engaged with content from the hours of 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
"Being the first broadcast news organization to have an iPad app gave us a distinct advantage in crafting our new app," said Joe Ruffolo, Senior Vice President of ABC News Digital. "We saw that our iPad users were most heavily using the app between 7 and 10 p.m. And with that we decided to enhance the user experience based on what time of the day it is."
Since launching its iPad app in July 2010, ABC News has found that app usage peaks in the evening and that users watch 1.5 times more video content and read 20 percent more at that time than other parts of the day. More than 50 percent of all news stories on the iPad are read in the morning or evening.
Data from ComScore, Forrester, and Google confirm similar tablet use patterns. Forrester recently found that 85 percent of tablet owners use tablets while watching TV and Google has reported that search peaks on tablet devices from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
With that tablet activity in mind, the ABC News app now has three editions -- the Morning, Midday, and Primetime Editions. The Morning Edition, which is presented from 6 a.m. to noon, is centered on the top headline and a "5 Things To Know This Morning" article by "Good Morning America's" Josh Elliott. The Midday Edition, offered from noon to 8 p.m., has a tweaked layout and presents headlines, video clips, and feature stories.
The Primetime or Evening Edition offers an entirely different experience, with video front and center. "The video carousel provides more of a lean-back video experience. We know that during this time people are getting comfortable on their couches and have the iPad in their laps," Ruffolo said.
In addition to the video section, there are featured stories.
Each edition is updated instantaneously with news from ABCNews.com and contains a special section for trending stories, which is based on the popularity of stories and videos on Facebook and Twitter. There's also a new Lifestyle & Fun section that curates lifestyle and entertainment news. The app also allows for viewing ABC News' live video feed. The spinning globe that was a part of the original ABC News app is no longer included.
In addition to providing news, the app also provides up-to-the minute weather reports. A weather widget on the top of the screen displays the forecast and current temperature; tap it and you can see the weekly forecast and see the weather in other locations.
All eight ABC-owned TV stations will offer customized editions with added regional and local news, weather, and traffic reports. The KABC-TV Los Angeles iPad app will launch today. WABC-TV in New York, WLS-TV in Chicago, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, KGO-TV in San Francisco, KTRK-TV in Houston, WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham and KFSN-TV in Fresno are scheduled to release their own apps in the next few weeks. Those will be available as separate apps in the App Store.
ABC News' new iPad app is available today from the Apple App Store for free. If you already have the app, keep an eye out for the update.