Reuters to pull plug on standalone TV app

Reuters will sunset its television-centric app less than five years after introducing it.

The decision to pull the plug on Reuters TV, a standalone app for Apple, Android and some smart TV devices, came after the company’s thinking on a separate video service evolved since it launched in 2015.

“We’ve experimented, iterated and received a great deal of feedback,” Simon Hutson, the managing director of consumer at Reuters, wrote in a memo to employees earlier this month. “Video content has become even more important to consumers. Now we’re taking the next step in our journey.”

That next step will involve consolidating the Reuters TV app and its offerings into Reuters.com, the New York-based company’s legacy website, and supplemental Reuters News apps. Reuters TV users will continue to have access to the standalone app through 2020, Hutson said.

Hutson said moving Reuters TV content onto Reuters.com and within the Reuters News app ecosystem offered  “a seamless, unified experience for consumers.” But two people with knowledge of the plan said the company also decided to fold Reuters TV into its website and news apps because it could not figure out how to make Reuters TV profitable as a standalone offering.

Reuters primarily provides international news stories, including video, to domestic news organizations. In the United States, Reuters provides news footage to NBC News, CNN and the Fox News Channel, among others.

Reuters TV competed with domestic and international news services that use Reuters news footage and other Reuters properties, and the company did not see it viable as a standalone consumer product without a clear path toward sustainability and significant revenue, a person within the company told The Desk on condition of anonymity.

Reuters.com, on the other hand, contains a limited amount of Reuters content — typically stories that would have broad appeal or stories exclusive to the service. That content has broad consumer appeal, but is mostly displayed to help promote Reuters and its content to potential business clients, the person said.

Reuters will begin consolidating its television app into other editorial offerings starting in January 2020.

Disclosure: The author of this post worked for Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters, from 2012 to 2013.