Sky News chief talks up historic iPad era

Let it never be said that Sky doesn't like to hype the crap out of everything that it does. And when it's not talking up Wigan vs Blackpool on Super Sunday as if it's El Clásico, it's talking about how its Sky News iPad app, and the tablet era, is "a defining moment" in history.

That comment was made by the head of Sky News, John Ryley, who was talking at the launch of the new app in London on Thursday. An app he described as the "third major platform" for Sky News' coverage.

"At Sky we always strive to be pioneers, innovative and bold," he said.

"Just as technology such as the Autocue and the 16mm film gave birth to commercial TV in the 1950s, and 24 hour satellite broadcasts gave birth to Sky News in 1989, the technology of tablets - with great video, graphic experiences and intuitive touch screens - means that we can now make the digital leap to truly visual storytelling."

Ryley was also quick to point out that Sky News' new premium (soon to be premium, at least) app offers something that its digital rivals such as The Daily can not - a live element.

"The Daily? It's very title defines what it is all about - it's a daily edition," he said. "This is Sky News - a live broadcaster. Remember [the app] updates and refreshes every minute."

Sky's John Jelley, the man behind the app, stated that the Sky News iPad app was different from its competitors because it reverses the online news model by offering content around video.

"The existing news apps space is one where all news apps re-purpose web feeds - they take the web feeds and jazz them up a bit," said Jelley.

"That works quite well but what it doesn't do is take advantage of what the iPad can do. We are now merging the boundaries between live and on-demand for the user so they can choose how to consume the content."

Jelley also defended the app's apparent narrow-range of news stories (it's heavily focused on the top news stories and contains, at the moment, no sports news or weather content).

"We're not trying to do everything here," he said. "What we are trying to do is to offer a truly immersive experience. The nature of apps is to focus a little bit."

The Sky News iPad app is in the App Store now and, for the time-being, is free.

Give it a whirl and let us know what you think? A narrowing of news or a revolution in storytelling?

Also check out our Sky News for iPad hands-on