In its bid to build the Apple News equivalent app for Android, Taboola has signed a new partnership with vivo, the world’s fifth largest smartphone maker. This partnership comes after earlier this year Taboola inked a deal with ZTE, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer.
In the deal with ZTE, Taboola’s module wasn’t contained in a stand-alone app, but rather, it showed news articles to smartphone users on their “lock” screens when they begin using their phones after a period of inactivity.
That has changed though in this latest partnership with vivo. Now, when users swipe right on the home screen, Taboola will surface personalized news and content from its network of premium publishers throughout Asia. The partnership with vivo will leverage Taboola’s extensive footprint in the region through its partnerships with thousands of quality publishers and marketers such as NDTV, India Today, China Daily, Kapook and OhBulan.
One major distinction between Taboola News and Apple News is that the feature will send readers directly to publishers’ websites, allowing publishers to exercise more control over ad sales and the relationship with readers.
When speaking with the WSJ for the ZTE announcement back in April 2018, Taboola founder & CEO, Adam Singolda said, “I’m concerned the most about the dilution of the relationship between quality publishers and their loyal audiences over time.”
That’s certainly been a real concern for publishers these days. These intermediary apps like Apple News and others do not allow publishers to monetize their audiences as effectively. Plus, as Mr. Singolda mentioned, it can dilute the relationship between publisher and reader.
Ultimately, Taboola wants to cut deals to include its content recommendation module on every Android phone. It’s an ambitious initiative and one that could be truly beneficial to both publishers and readers. The real key now for Taboola is to be able to report positive results from its implementations with ZTE and vivo so it can persuade other manufacturers to jump onboard.