Landing a lucrative pre-load spot on the Kindle Fire was a big deal for Pulse, as the San Francisco-based startup sought to cement its place firmly in the news reader space with the likes of Flipboard.
Just to recap, Pulse takes your favorite websites and transforms them into an interactive mosaic – apps are available for iPad, iPhone/iTouch and Android. And now it’s expanding its reach beyond reading and embedding itself firmly in the viewing realm, as it introduces video into the mix.
From today, Pulse will receive more than thirty new video channels, including WSJ Live, National Geographic, ESPN, Fox Sports and The Guardian.
With a quarter of US smartphone owners also owning a tablet device, we’re seeing an upwards trajectory for online video consumption. Indeed, back in April Read it Later rebranded as Pocket and rolled out a service with a stronger focus on ‘watching’ rather than ‘reading’.
Pulse has clearly observed this trend and is looking to capitalize on the increasing demand for watching video on the move. You could say it’s keeping its finger on the pulse.
Meet the co-founder
Since being founded in May 2010, Pulse has developed somewhat from its original incarnation and we caught up with company co-founder Akshay Kothari to get his views on what’s changed.
It seems the company has upped sticks from its initial Palo Alto base and moved to San Francisco, where it now employs 22 people. The team is divided into 6 small sub-teams – iOS, Android, Backend, Data, Product and Business Development.
“It’s come a long way,” says Kothari. “What started off as a 5-week class project building an iPad app, is now available across all mobile platforms including iPhone, Android devices and even comes pre-loaded on a Kindle Fire. We initially started off as an app to read your tech blogs. Today, you can read pretty much any newspaper, magazine, blog and so much more. Our recent content initiatives included our Elections release and our Local launch. With access to all sorts of content, Pulse is becoming a single destination to get all your favorite content. It was focused on reading content – but with video, we are bringing a lot more media and interactivity to the platform.”
We asked Kothari what value Pulse could bring to the video-consumption table for content providers – what can they offer to lure even more on board? “We provide an effective dashboard for a few content providers to see pretty granular data. This includes how many users are subscribed, how many were active today, how many stories were consumed, how much time was spent, how many stories were shared – and so on,” he says. “The dashboard access is given to publishers on an invitation basis currently, but will be expanded soon.”
The future and beyond
Looking beyond this latest roll-out, Kothari says that Pulse’s slew of mobile apps will be updated this summer, with version 3.0 arriving on the scene soon. “This will be a significant improvement to our current apps,” he says. “It will address a lot of user feedback we have received over the last year.”
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