More Publishers On the Mobile Screen

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

More North American print publications can now be accessed on mobile screens than ever before.

A third annual survey by Audit Bureau of Circulations and ABC Interactive of print publications – newspapers, magazines and b-to-b titles – in the U.S. and Canada on their use of mobile found that 85% of survey respondents now have mobile content for smartphones, e-readers or tablet computers, up from 76% last year.

Newspapers (88%) were most likely to have mobile initiatives in place, followed by consumer magazines (83%) and business publications (79%). And 59% say their company has a strategy for capitalizing on mobile platforms. Further, 73% said readers are most likely to consume their content on e-readers or tablets compared to 60% who said the same thing about smartphones.

Publishers in the U.S. and Canada are investing in optimized mobile websites: 81% of U.S. publishers and 65% of Canadian publishers said this was an important part of their strategic plan.

When it comes to developing apps, most publishers are focusing their efforts on Apple products: 61% of respondents said they have an iPhone app and 54% said they have an iPad app. Of those publishers with apps, 45% said they charge for their iPad apps, followed by 35% collecting payment for iPhone apps and 34% earning revenue from Amazon’s Kindle.

Two-thirds of survey respondents said publishers need to focus on two equally important revenue streams: advertising and subscriptions. Publishers believe mobile offers many potentially successful advertising opportunities, including search (67%), store locators (65%), banners (64%), sponsorships (62%) and videos (62%).

However, publishers had mixed feelings about how to best charge consumers for accessing content on multiple platforms: 40% 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.

In total, 74% of U.S. publishers and 70% of Canadian 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. And 72% said multimedia reports such as ABC’s Consolidated Media Report will become increasingly important as their portfolios diversify.

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