Skift Take

Despite few adoptees, the local guide app field is a crowded one. Here's one developer's insight into what goes into building one.

We’re kicking off a new regular post on the Apps Blog called Apps Pitch: a Q&A interview where an individual developer, publisher, startup or brand will be explaining more about their app.

First up is MyCityWay London24, with Paul Hood, digital director of Archant London.

What is your app called and what does it do?

Our new app is called MyCityWay London24. It’s a comprehensive city guide that helps people discover London, based on what they want to do.

Whether a user simply wants to find a list of the nearest coffee shops to where they are, or discover popular tourist attractions nearby and how to get there, this information is only ever 3 clicks away with our new app.

There are more than 30 ‘mini-apps’ within the main app, making it quick and simple to find a huge array of things to do and see in London as well as helping users make travel arrangements and even make event and hotel bookings through the app.

What devices is it on, and what are your plans?

Right now, the app is available for iPhone and iPad. We already have a version for Android in an advanced stage of development – this will be ready for launch within weeks. We’ll look to develop for Windows-based smartphones and BlackBerry in the coming months.

What’s the business model and why have you chosen it?

The app is free to download and use; the plan is to generate revenue through advertising and by taking a commission from in-app purchasing.

We’re very confident and excited about the revenue potential for the MyCityWay London24 app from advertising in particular, because the advertising proposition is powerful and compelling. For the first time, we can offer advertisers the chance to reach prospective customers in a 1:1 environment with the ability to target messages by location and intention, in real time.

Take the lucrative tourist market in London for example; tradionally difficult to reach and influence through advertising. Our app offers advertisers a new solution. Lets take the example of a tourist arriving at, say – Stratford International train station for the summer Olympic games.

If that user then presses the coffee app, Starbucks or Costa coffee could immediately send a push notification with a time-limited coupon offer. That tourists’ first experience of the Olympic games is a free coffee from Starbucks. That’s powerful.

What’s innovative about the app – what sets it apart?

We think the innovation lies in the usability of the app and its ability to surprise and delight. It’s truly useful on so many practical levels, from helping users discover what’s around them in London to assisting them with planning their time in the capital and getting the best out of it.

What’s the competition – who else is out there in this area?

There are a few others in this space – we spent a lot of time researching the category. The MyCityWay platform stood out head and shoulders above the others, and that’s why we were so delighted that we were able to partner with them to bring this app to market for London – one of the world’ most vibrant and interesting cities with such a rich selection of things to do .

What are your future plans for the app?

We’d like to add new levels mini-apps regularly to continue to help people discover new elements of London. For example, the next iteration of the app will contain a ‘Jobs’ mini-app that will help users find jobs available by sector, salary bracket and location.

We’re well positioned to incorporate this as we already have a comprehensive jobs board within our stable: Jobs24. We’re also working on integrating daily deals in to our offering, discoverable by location and relevance. We’re in the fotunate position to be able to do this quickly via our existing daily deals brand, Tickles.

Tell us more about the company behind it

Archant is an independently-owned regional media business, active in the fields of regional newspaper and magazine publishing, contract printing and of course digital/mobile publishing. Our products serve clearly defined communities, based around locations or interest groups.

Archant can trace its roots back over 160 years; today we produce four daily regional newspapers and around 60 weekly titles with a combined weekly circulation of around 2.25m copies. We employ 1,850 people right across England. Our head office is in Norwich. Archant has an annual turnover of £142m.

We’ve been developing apps for a while now, but this is our first step into a utility-based app that has broad appeal to an audience beyond our traditional content-based products.


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Tags: apps, guides

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