Associated Press debuts mobile iCircular program

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Associated Press debuts mobile iCircular program
Associated Press debuts mobile iCircular program

The Associated Press (AP) launched a pilot of its iCircular program on Sept. 19, enabling retailers to run digital versions of their weekly print circulars within newspapers' mobile apps or mobile-optimized sites.

Twenty retailers, including Lowe's Companies, Petco Animal Supplies, RadioShack Corp., Sears Brands, Staples, Target Brands and Wal-Mart Stores are participating in the pilot program, which will run for three-and-a-half months, said Jeffrey Litvack, general manager of global product development at the AP.

The iCircular program is available through 41 newspapers such as The Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Chicago Tribune.

The new program creates a deals section within a newspaper's app or mobile site and displays offerings featured in a retailer's print circular. Consumers can add an offer to a mobile shopping list, locate nearby stores at which the offer can be redeemed, and connect their loyalty membership to a newspaper's app. They can also share an offer via email, Facebook and Twitter. Currently, consumers can only view offers by retailer, but the AP plans to enable viewing by retail category.

The program also features digitized versions of retailers' weekly circulars that consumers can page through on their phone. The program is only available on mobile phones, but Litvack said that the AP is considering a tablet version.

AP is measuring purchase-intent metrics such as offers added to a list, searches and interactions with the program's location-based services. The AP is also tracking purchases “by marrying up the loyalty card integration in the application with retailer data,” Litvack said.

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