September 14, 2015
By John Cruickshank
The Toronto Star is making the news new again.
Today, the Star is launching Star Touch, an innovative and fully interactive news app designed for tablets that revolutionizes how readers get their news.
Free every day and delivered to tablets by 5:30 a.m., Star Touch allows readers to experience new layers to city, world, sports, business and entertainment news through exclusive content and surprising interactive touchpoints.
It’s an exciting and powerful new way for the Star to combine its award-winning journalism that readers know and trust with a sense of fun and entertainment.
Packed with videos, photographs and interactive graphics, Star Touch brings stories to life in ways available only on a tablet, including photo galleries, maps, audio clips, fact boxes and more — all with a simple touch of a finger.
Star Touch is the most dramatic change in more than a century in how the Star presents news. It allows the Star to completely change its storytelling approach, showcasing stories in more interactive ways than ever before
In short, it’s a totally new way of bringing news and information to readers — a true evolution that means the Star has the best, most comprehensive news products in Canada, from the flagship Toronto Star, the largest print newspaper in Canada, to its popular website, thestar.com, to its strong lineup of digital and mobile platforms.
Readers can easily download Star Touch free at the App Store, or by visiting: AppStore.com/StarTouch . Initially the app will only be available on Apple iPads. It will be available on Android tablets later this fall.
The Star is making history today with the launch of Star Touch. No other English-language news organization in the world has an app that is comparable.
Star Touch is based on La Presse+, the free tablet app launched in 2013 by the Montreal-based French-language daily newspaper La Presse. More than 460,000 people now read La Presse+ every week, according to an independent survey. More than half of its readers are in the 25-54 age range.
“This marks the first day of the next chapter of the Toronto Star,” says Ali Rahnema, the Star’s chief operating officer, digital. “Star Touch will help ensure our journalism is freely available to the communities we serve. It’s a unique initiative in an industry undergoing rapid change. This company-wide effort, which involved hundreds of employees from all departments, is testament to the Star’s continuing commitment to providing industry-leading products that appeal to readers of all ages.
“At the same time, we remain fully committed and fully confident in all our news products and brands, with our huge and loyal print readership and our widely popular website and mobile news platforms,” Rahnema added.
The Star has hired more than 70 people — reporters, editors, designers and multimedia experts — to help produce the tablet edition every day.
With Star Touch, readers will be able to expand photo galleries and video to full-screen, tap into live news and weather, interact with statistical information, adjust type size and background, explore relevant links to the web and engage with advertisements.
The app’s interactive ads allow brands to reach a younger generation and engage them in a more immersive way. Readers can swipe, tap, play with and explore advertisements and sponsored content. At the same time, advertisers will have access to rich data to measure and maximize reader views and engagement by identifying how many unique devices downloaded each day’s edition as well as web visits, interactivities, video and audio plays.
Weekly sections are designed around special interests, from money management to finding a new vehicle, searching for a new home, planning a holiday or gaining inspiration from interesting people.
On Tuesday, readers can enjoy the Smart Money section. On Friday, there’s the popular Wheels section. On Saturday, Star Touch features Properties, Destinations and Profile, which highlights great stories of seemingly ordinary people. On Sunday, the sections include Tech and Book-ish.
And to wind down, readers can look to Breathe, a unique section with engaging themes for each day of the week, with features on fitness, relationships, food, fashion and home decor.
As well, daily reader favourites include a crossword and horoscope.
In the coming days and weeks, Star Touch readers can look forward to in-depth coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival, the Toronto Blue Jays’ drive for the World Series, the federal election and the continuing strife in the Middle East.
Remember, readers can easily download Star Touch free at the App Store, or by visiting: AppStore.com/StarTouch.