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Facebook embarks on multi-app strategy

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Facebook is embarking on a diversification strategy that will unfold over course of the year as it introduces new mobile apps. Its newest entrant is rumored to be a news reader that may launch this month.

Recode's Mike Isaac got the scoop on what may be Facebook's upcoming "Flipboard-like" news reader app called "Paper," from an anonymous source that's close to the company. Here's the skinny from Mike:

"Paper and Flipboard share a number of similarities, according to this person. Both essentially act as aggregators of rich media content, displaying a mix of news stories from publications like the New York Times or the Washington Post, along with status updates from Facebook users — all in a visually stunning “paper-like” format hearkening back to a time before digital devices."

Paper is the first of what could be many apps slated for release this year. You may have noticed how Facebook's mobile app is pushing its standalone messenger. That's no mistake: Zuck sees a multi-app future, a source close to the company has told me. And the feeling within Facebook is that "Zuck is always right."

The company attempted something like this in the past with "Poke," which was intended to become a Snapchat competitor. Zuckerberg even visited Snapchat's founders using Poke as leverage to acquire it. Poke never really caught on, but I'm told that it was just a "weekend hackathon - not a strategy" and an opportunity to Zuckerberg to understand the ins and outs of iOS programming. Paper will be different.

Facebook is becoming successful at advertising - video advertising in particular. Its mobile ad growth is forecast to soon hit around US$6.3 billion, according to JPMorgan. New apps would increase its user base and potentially attract new users that aren't really inside of its social net. That compensates for losing youth.

The way we think about Facebook is going to change this year. Nielsen has found that its "prime time" audience now exceeds the four major U.S. TV networks. Such an ad platform can charge a premium. I wouldn't be surprised to see a common advertising system across all of its forthcoming app family.

— By on January 14, 2014, 3:43 PM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure