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Print Goes Mobile

17 Nov 2011

According to a survey published by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. 85 per cent of the magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada currently offer mobile content for e-readers, smartphones or tablets. Just 76 per cent of magazines and newspapers offered mobile content last year. "Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Maturing and Monetising Their Offerings," found that 88 per cent of newspapers, 83 per cent of consumer magazines and 79 per cent of business publications offered mobile content. More on the study.

According to the study, 21 per cent of U.S. wireless subscribers owned a smartphone at the end of 2010. Sales of smartphones increased 29 per cent between September 2009 and March 2010 and 45 per cent of Americans said a smartphone would be their next mobile device purchase. The report predicts that by the end of this year, smartphones will overtake feature phones in the market.

The survey shows that the number of magazines and newspapers distributing their content on mobile devices continues to increase but that the numbers may be reaching the point of saturation. Many of the publications with the inclination and resources to initiate a mobile presence have already launched products or will do so in the next six months.

83 per cent of magazines share their content on mobile devices, up 26 per cent from last year. Business publications have also seen a large jump in mobile distribution. In 2010, 58 per cent of b-to-b survey respondents said they had mobile content. This year, that number increased to 79 per cent. Newspapers show the highest percentage of penetration.

Content on Mobile Devices (% of Publications)
Publication                   2011       2010        2009
Magazines                   83%        57%         42%
Business publications  79           58            48
Newspapers                88           88            56
Source: ABC 2011 Mobile Survey, November 2011


Despite the large year-over-year increases, there are still some publishers that are not distributing mobile content and they cite many reasons for their decision. Cost is the most common reason.

With publishers most likely to invest in native apps and mobile websites, most publishers are repurposing at least some of their print content, both editorial and advertising, in their mobile offerings. But nearly half are creating special products just for their mobile audiences.

Many industry analysts have heralded the burgeoning mobile market as the ideal opportunity to replace some lost revenue, says the report. Publishers share that sentiment. In the U.S., 57 per cent said they expect increases in mobile advertising revenue in the next two years. In Canada, 22 per cent said they expect revenue increases from both advertising and subscription sales.

Publishers are divided on how to charge consumers to access their content on multiple platforms. Newspapers are split down the middle, with 41 per cent saying that consumers should pay one price to access stories on all platforms and 41 per cent think consumers should pay for each additional platform. 46 per cent of magazines favour charging for each platform while 57 per cent of business publications said they only charge consumers once.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations and ABC Interactive summarised the survey of print publications, newspapers, magazines and b-to-b titles, with regard to how their mobile initiatives are progressing. Highlights include:


  • 85 per cent of survey respondents said they currently have mobile content for smartphones, e-readers or tablet computers, up from 76 per cent last year
  • Publishers are gaining confidence in their mobile strategies. 59 per cent now say their company has a strategy for capitalizing on mobile platforms
  • Many believe that e-readers and tablets will be the biggest boon to their business. Seventy-three per cent said readers are most likely to consume their content on e-readers or tablets compared to 60 per cent who said the same thing about smartphones
  • Respondents from the U.S. and Canada said mobile websites often account for up to 15 per cent of their overall website impressions
  • When it comes to developing apps, most publishers are focusing their efforts on Apple products. Of those publishers with apps, 45 per cent said they charge for their iPad apps, followed by 35 per cent collecting payment for iPhone apps and 34 per cent earning revenue from Amazon's Kindle
  • Publishers believe mobile offers many potentially successful advertising opportunities, including search (67 per cent), store locators (65 per cent), banners (64 per cent), sponsorships (62 per cent) and videos (62 per cent)
  • 40 per cent of publishers said readers should pay one price and receive access to all platforms: print, web, mobile, while another 40% said readers should pay more for each additional platform
  • 74 per cent of U.S. publishers said advertisers will demand more accountability as they spend more money on mobile buys. Two-thirds of publishers said the industry needs to report more detailed mobile metrics, such as access rates and time spent


Source: Mediapost

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