Last month, Meredith announced it was one of the beta publishers partnering with Google to launch AMP stories. The American magazine media company’s People brand was first in the Meredith portfolio to launch the new storytelling format called AMP Stories, though one exec says there will be more to come.
Speaking from Amsterdam where the launch was highlighted at the AMP Conf 2018, Doug Parker, vice president of digital design at Meredith, said AMP Stories combine text, images, videos and graphics and provides a mobile-focused format that users can now access quickly across the web.
“We're excited about it because it offers us another way to present our content on mobile devices,” he explained. “The idea behind AMP Stories is to create a platform where we can deliver media-rich stories, and our users can consume them in a really interesting, fast way on their phones.”
AMP Stories, as a mobile format, allows for more creativity from publishers and allows them to deliver a visual experience that is more engaging. Parker said he believed users will appreciate the new format and interact with it more and spend more time with the content. “I think the users will come to love it as well, as more and more publishers and other content providers create content on it,” he said.
AMP Stories provide a mobile experience that publishers can post on their own sites, and can easily distribute across the open web, explained Rudy Galfi, product manager for AMP at Google, in a release. The format is free and open for anyone to use. Multiple publishers including Condé Nast, Hearst and Meredith, worked in partnership with Google toward building a story-focused, immersive mobile format over the last several months.
AMP Stories has the potential to change how audiences consume content.
“There is definitely the potential to get people to think about content differently on their mobile devices,” Parker said. "It's all about delivering a singular experience.”
AMP Stories have been compared to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, but there are differences - AMP Stories are discovered via search, not directly on social platforms. Parker said AMP Stories don’t disappear, the format is simply another way for people to view content on their mobiles.
“A lot of it can be evergreen content, recipes, how-to, travel guides,” Parker said. “And in the same way you can go back and edit a webpage and append it, this is the same - you can go back and make tweaks to it.”
AMP Stories also have the potential to help smaller publishers create mobile storytelling. It levels the playing field for publishers of all sizes to make AMP stories.
Built on Google’s AMP infrastructure, AMP Stories takes the technical difficulties out of mobile storytelling, so journalists can focus on storytelling, Galfi wrote on the Google developer’s blog. AMP Stories also has the potential to be monetised, though details on that aspect have yet to be announced.
What Meredith has done over the AMP Stories development cycle with Google is try to create templates that can be reused, and try to create a system with their CMS where editors can go in and create AMP stories on the fly, Parker explained. “The idea is to figure out - and each company has to do this themselves - how to produce them and in a way that is feasible.”
This is just the beginning of immersive, visually-rich AMP Stories for Meredith. Parker said the company has plans to test and develop the process and apply it to all of the other appropriate brands at Meredith. “We're going to move on to Travel + Leisure next, and from there, it could be Time... we're talking about rolling it out to all of the appropriate brands,” he said.
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