Messaging service Tango
to offer media content
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[June 11, 2014]
By Gerry Shih
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -
Tango, the popular mobile messaging app, said Tuesday it
has struck deals with media companies including AOL and
Vevo to distribute content in a new effort to
differentiate itself in the hotly contested mobile
Tango said its 200 million users worldwide will be able to browse
new "Channels" for entertainment, news, sports and other categories
to discover articles, videos and songs. Content providers so far
include music streaming service Spotify, AOL properties including
the Huffington Post and Dailymotion, the video repository.
For Tango, the media partnerships are critical for its ambitions to
become an online media hub - and a differentiating feature from
other messaging services such as Whatsapp, the startup acquired by
Facebook Inc in a $19 billion deal this year.
Whatsapp, for instance, has focused exclusively on improving its
text-based messaging service, while China's Tencent Holdings service
WeChat touts the games it offers.
Tango co-founder Eric Setton said having unique and rich content
would provide a unique draw for users. At the same time, Tango's
messaging service provided the ideal platform to distribute content
for media companies, he argued.
"People realize that less and less time is spent on Web browsers,
and all of the rest of the time is in apps," Setton said in an
interview. "We have a role to play here, in the distribution of
content and the discovery of content because content producers need
a way to get into bigger and bigger apps."
Facebook's Whatsapp acquisition in February - the largest in history
for a venture-backed company - cast a spotlight squarely on the
promise and potential value of mobile messaging apps.
[to top of second column]
Tokyo-based Line Corp, one of Asia's fastest growing messaging
services, is considering an initial public offering this year,
according to media reports.
Tango has been watched closely in Silicon Valley circles
particularly after it received an investment exceeding $200 million
from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in March, effectively cementing its
ties to the Chinese e-commerce giant.
(Reporting by Gerry Shih; editing by Gunna Dickson)
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