70% of Print Publishers Step Up Mobile Efforts

September 22, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Metrics | Local & Directories / Small Biz | Magazines | Mobile Phone | Newspapers | Telecom

More than 70% of US print publishers in a recent survey say that mobile is receiving more attention at their publication this year than last, though only about one-third believe they have a well-developed plan for attacking and conquering the mobile market, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), which conducted the research.

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The study, “Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Preparing for the Burgeoning Digital Market,” (pdf) found that most publishers are already focusing on the mobile market or planning to do so soon in an attempt to expand their brands, reach new audiences and generate additional revenue.

Nearly 60% of newspapers and more than 40% of consumer magazines and business publications already format their sites for viewing on mobile devices:

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Almost one-third believe that mobile will have a significant impact on their publication’s revenue in just three years. Most respondents believe that mobile will be responsible for a five to 50% increase in website traffic in the next three years.

Key survey findings:

  • More than 80% of newspaper and magazine respondents believe people will rely more heavily on mobile devices as a primary information source in the next three years.
  • 44% of respondents who track mobile’s impact on their website traffic say the devices increased visits by up to 10% today. Half believe mobile traffic to their websites will increase by 5-25% in the next two years.

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  • Among senior executives, 56% say their publication has plans to develop a smartphone application in the next 24 months. this is in addition to the 17% of respondents who already have an app in production.
  • Regardless of mobile’s anticipated rise, publishers do not plan to abandon their print publications in favor of a digital-only product in the near term. While 55% 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:

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  • More than half of survey respondents believe that the future business model of mobile content will be supported by both advertising and subscriptions.

ABC said the report findings further highlight mobile’s important and growing role in the digital advertising and publishing market.

“Publishers recognize the growing importance of mobile devices in consumers’ 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.”

Future Trends

After an analysis of the survey data, ABC also noted that newspapers and magazines are betting on both smartphones and e-readers as delivery platforms, and that early business models will likely be based on a combination of advertising and subscriptions. Advertiser demand for accountability is also expected to grow as ad spend grows.

About the research: In response to 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, conducted an online survey of its print publisher members. The research was conducted via a voluntary web-based survey fielded from June 25 – July 10, 2009.

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