Forbes acquires photo-sharing app Camerama, pushes further into mobile

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Forbes takes a page out of the digital media playbook with its acquisition of photo-sharing app Camerama.

Camerama is a private cloud-based photo exchanging network, where only invited friends can see the photos you upload. Through the acquisition, Camerama founder Salah Akram Zalatimo will become vice president of mobile products at Forbes . As such, Zalatimo will be charged with developing the Forbes mobile strategy and building out apps that use Camerama’s technology as a foundation.

“Our goal is to build passionate communities under the Forbes umbrella — the kind that marketers want to reach and that generate valuable and relevant content,” said Lewis D’Vorkin, Forbes chief product officer, in a statement.

The deal comes as many long-standing publications are trying to become next-generation media-tech companies. What that translates to is an offering that goes beyond the news.

To date we’ve primarily seen digital media companies like Yahoo, Buzzfeed, and even Snapchat pioneer the digital arena with free apps that blend entertainment with reportage and facilitate content sharing among large audiences. Traditional media companies, on the other hand, have mostly failed to launch consumer-savvy apps. Part of the reason for that is because these publications are looking to these apps as an avenue for additional revenue.

The New York Times, for example, has been putting many resources into developing digital products, but hasn’t yet created a sticky paid product. At the end of last year, the company decided to sunset NYT Opinion, because the app wasn’t performing well, according to a New York Times article concerning newsroom layoffs.

And while the company is proud of its NYT Now app, which delivers condensed top news stories geared at millennials for a lower fee than a full newspaper subscription, it hasn’t established a meaningful audience there either, the same article said. In the meantime, the company is playing with a free recipe app that it hopes to eventually attach a fee to.

Other traditional media companies that launch apps are few and far between — making the Forbes acquisition of Camerama a notable move.

Though the company already has a magazine mobile app that recreates the physical magazine for a digital audience, this acquisition will move the company’s mobile play forward. It will be interesting to see if Forbes can bridge the gap between its paper printed magazine and its digital audience in a way that not only provides more value for its consumers, but has the potential to bring in new revenue streams.

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