As anchor Matt Lauer celebrates 20 years on the show, Today itself is gearing up to celebrate its 65th anniversary on January 14, 2017.
To commemorate this milestone – at least in part – the morning show, which reportedly boasted nearly 5 million viewers in December 2016, has redesigned the Apple version of its app to “provide a digest of top moments from the day, make navigation easier, elevate video components…and bring a stronger connection to the Today brand within the app’s design,” a rep said.
The redesigned app will be available via the Apple app store on January 9.
The brand said there will be some “light design updates” to the Android version and “we’ll consider a fuller Android update later in the year.” The app originally launched in 2013.
Per Google Play, there are about 100,000 to 500,000 downloads of the Android app. It was not immediately clear how many users have downloaded the Apple version as NBC "[did not] have that data readily available."
The new app for Apple, however, includes The Digest, which the brand said includes the best moments from a given day’s news and the Today show itself in “a quick and fun swipe-through format,” as well as related curated content.
The brand said it also made video more discoverable throughout because “video content is an important part of our brand strategy and we know that our Today fans love watching segments from the show, as well as original video content.”
Users can also watch “in an immersive video experience [via] a split-screen video feature which allows users to watch a video and continue to browse stories in the app at the same time, easily navigate to our main lifestyle sections like Food, Style, Home, Health & Wellness and Parents, and search for stories in our Today digital archive,” the brand said.
In addition, the app has “a beautiful new design that feels friendly and more feminine,” as well as “a new rich eggplant gradient [that] helps make our signature orange pop even better,” the brand said.
Today wanted to reward its loyal fans with the new app and, according to the brand, it set out with partner digital agency Huge to “make the app look, feel and function more like Today.”
In order to do that, Today said, “We channeled the friendly and approachable personality our fans love about the show into the app.”
The brand added its goal is to grow, retain and reward its audience – as well as for the app “to become a daily and natural habit, just like watching the show is for our fans each day.”
That’s in part because data showed its current app audience was loyal – and “obsessed” with video.
“We also spoke to fans of the show, who gave us honest feedback about the app. Some of the most telling feedback was that the app didn’t ‘look like Today’ and that the navigation was often confusing,” the brand said. “We also learned that our users trusted Today editors and enjoyed our friendly voice and tone and wanted a way to catch up quickly. From this feedback, The Today Digest was born.”
Users can expect to see video ad pre-roll but the redesigned app will be launched without display advertising.
“We’ll be looking for opportunities with advertisers to create more premium/high-quality, mobile-native ad experiences,” the brand added.