Globe and Mail and Spreed in dispute over online content

Photo by Chris Holmer www.christianholmer.com

Spreed, a Toronto-based software developing company, is in dispute with The Globe and Mail over premature termination of a contract. 

For the last two years, Globe readers have accessed stories from the newspaper through Spreed's mobile application. Last week, the newspaper developed its own application and called for readers to download the new app in order to access content.

"The content was pulled prematurely, and it was a surprise to us," said Spreed CEO Anthony Novac. He said that the two companies had agreed upon a date where Spreed would no longer be marketing and the newspaper would no longer provide content for the specific app. However, he said the app was pulled without warning, "over a month" before the agreed date. In addition, he said the Globe "made attempts to convert (Spreed's) existing customers over to their new app, which they have already built." 

Novac said that his company was given no prior warning from the newspaper before the changes took place. 

"When they pulled the content, we found out the same way everyone else found out," he said. "We looked at the app, and we saw that they only pushed articles that asked readers to convert to a new app." He said that readers would open an article in the app, and be notified that they had to download a different app in order to access news from the Globe and Mail. "As you can imagine, it's our position that this was not permitted," he said.

An anonymous communications representative from the Globe commented, "For business reasons we needed to go a different direction. This does not in any way change our commitment to our readers or to delivering Globe and Mail news to mobile devices." The representative said its new app incorporated new improvements that were asked by readers, and encouraged people to download it for a "superior reading experience".

In the place of Globe content, Spreed is offering Free Press News, which Novac feels will be as extensive as content from its previous client.

"The Free Press News app is offering breaking news, headline news, international and national news, sports, technology ...  all of the sections that were offered before," said Novac. "I think users are going to be well-served by this content and we will also be putting in some new innovations on the technological side and it will be, we believe, a leading app in Canada."

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