Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

ESPN ScoreCenter App Is a Hit, but It’s Getting an Overhaul Anyway: New Name, More Video, More Stuff

ESPN’s ScoreCenter app isn’t broken — it’s one of the most successful mobile offerings from a media company that has done a very good job with mobile. But ESPN is trying to fix it, anyway.

Disney’s sports powerhouse is revamping the app this morning, for both Android and iOS users, and this is one time where you can learn a lot about an app without ever looking at it. Just check out the new name: SportsCenter.

To spell that out: ESPN is taking the old app, which did a very good job of delivering scores, but not much else, to your phone and tablet, and is shoving a lot more content in there. There’s a lot of video, taken from ESPN’s cable service, often minutes after it aired.

And there are a lot of stories, which users can personalize by telling ESPN which sports and teams they care about. ESPN said there will be a lot of social stuff in there as well, though for now that mainly means Twitter updates from ESPN talent.

The challenge, of course, is adding all of that stuff without overloading the app’s primary use case, which is what it used to do very well (and is why it was downloaded 43 million times).

I played with a test build for the past few days, and it seemed to zip right along. Then again, I have a shiny new iPhone 5s, so everything seems really fast right now. No idea how the clips, etc., play on older devices.

But it’s easy to see why ESPN wants to load more stuff in the app: Like everyone else in digital media, ESPN is becoming mobile-first. In September, people spent 3.2 billion minutes on ESPN’s mobile sites and apps, and for the first time, more of them went to ESPN’s mobile properties than its desktop site.

So if they’re going to spend more time on your mobile stuff, why not give them more to look at?

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work