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Print Publishers Ready to Capitalize on Mobile Market

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Print publishers are increasingly focusing on the mobile market as a prime opportunity to expand their brands, reach new audiences and generate additional revenue, reports a new survey from the USA's Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Noting an increase in publisher inquiries about auditing and reporting requirements for e-readers and smartphones, and membership growth from firms targeting digital publishing markets, ABC and its digital subsidiary, ABC Interactive, recently conducted an online survey of its print publisher members.

"The results of ABC's survey demonstrate that publishers recognize the growing importance of mobile devices in consumers' daily lives and are actively embracing mobile as a new way to extend their brands," said Michael Lavery, ABC president and managing director. "We continue to hear from newspapers and magazines as they integrate mobile into their digital publishing plans. And interest in ABC's multimedia reporting options is very high, with mobile poised to be one of the next distribution channels included on those reports."

Survey Highlights

  • More than 80 percent of newspaper and magazine respondents believe people will rely more heavily on mobile devices as a primary information source in the next three years.
  • Nearly 70 percent of respondents agree that mobile is receiving more attention at their publication this year than last. More than a third believe their publication already has a well-developed plan for attacking and conquering the mobile market.
  • Forty-four percent of respondents who track mobile's impact on their Web site traffic said the devices increased visits by up to 10 percent today. Half believe mobile traffic to their Web sites will increase by five to 25 percent in the next two years.
  • Among senior executive respondents, 56 percent said their publication has plans to develop a smartphone application in the next 24 months, in addition to the 17 percent of respondents who already have an app in production.
  • Regardless of mobile's anticipated rise, ABC publisher members do not plan to abandon their print publications in favor of a digital-only product in the near term. While 55 percent believe that digital delivery of their publication is important to their strategic future, three-fourths believe that their publication will be available in a print form five years from now.
  • More than half of the survey respondents believe that the future business model of mobile content will be supported by both advertising and subscriptions.
  • Nearly a third believe that mobile will have a significant impact on their publication's revenue in just three years.

"Although the mobile market is in its early stages, it offers tremendous opportunities for marketers to reach and interact with audiences," said Edward Montes, executive vice president and managing director of Havas Digital North America. "With text and multimedia messaging, branded mobile apps, content sponsorships, display advertising, paid search, and location-based targeting, the platform becomes an integral component of the overall marketing strategy. It has enormous potential for clients, in my view, so it's great to see newspapers and magazines embracing digital publishing."

Survey Conclusions

  • It's early, but there are positive signs. The mobile market is definitely receiving more attention than ever before. For some respondents, planning is still in the beginning stages and publishers are wading through the information and technology, trying to decide on the right strategy. For other newspapers and magazines, many mobile initiatives are well under way, supported by advertising and sponsorships.
  • Mobile will drive Web traffic. Most respondents believe that mobile will be responsible for a five to 50 percent increase in Web site traffic in the next three years.
  • Publishers are betting on both smartphones and e-readers and are actively exploring the vitality of both as a new distribution channel. Both devices are in the early-adoption phase but are quickly gaining momentum with large daily newspapers and leading consumer magazines.
  • Early business models will be based on a combination of advertising and subscriptions. Publishers agree that the mobile market will be both ad- and subscription-supported and many anticipate that mobile will contribute to the bottom line in just three years. Publishers believe there are many opportunities for paid mobile advertising, including sponsorship, search, video, and banner ads.
  • Advertiser demand for accountability will grow as ad spend grows. Respondents agree that independent third-party auditing would increase mobile's credibility and is likely to be demanded by advertisers as ad spending increases in this area. Data should be reported on ABC statements.

Methodology

The research  was conducted via a voluntary Web-based survey held between June 25 and July 10, 2009.

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Tags: mobile content  three  display  planning