85% of US and Canadian print publishers say they currently have mobile content for smartphones, e-readers, or tablet computers, representing a 12% increase from 76% in 2010, according to [download page] a study released in November 2011 by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). Data from “Going Mobile: How Publishers are Maturing and Monetizing Their Offerings” indicates that newspapers (88%) are the most likely to have mobile initiatives in place, followed by consumer magazines (83%) and business publications (79%). Most publishers are repurposing at least some of their print content, both editorial and advertising, although almost half are creating special products just for their mobile audiences. And alongside their increasing mobile presence, publishers are also gaining confidence in their ability to craft and execute a successful plan for the market: 59% of respondents say their publication has a well-developed plan for the mobile market, more than double the proportion (28%) who felt that way in 2009.
Cost Biggest Inhibitor
Of the 15% of respondents without content for mobile devices, 79% cite development and maintenance costs as the primary reason for their lack of content. A high proportion (57%) also report staffing resources to be a hindrance, while interest from readers (36%) and advertisers (29%) also show up as notable concerns. About 1 in 4 say they have too many platforms to support to consider distributing mobile content.
Most See Mobile Traffic Benefits
Although some publishers have been creating apps for specific platforms, those with mobile websites are reaping the benefits of increased website traffic from mobile users: 1 in 2 say mobile visits account for more than 5% of the total traffic to their websites, with the majority of those reporting more than 10% of traffic originating from mobiles. According to survey results released in October by Pew, although about two-thirds of tablet news users have a news app on their tablet, the browser is still the more popular means of consuming news: 40% of tablet news users reported obtaining their news mainly through a web browser, while 31% used news apps and the browser equally, and only 21% got their news primarily through apps.
Meanwhile, according to the ABC report, more than half of the publishers surveyed with mobile websites expect mobile visits to increase their website impressions by more than 25% in the next two years.
Sentiment Moves Towards Digital
Although 76% of publishers disagree that their publication has a digital-only future, down slightly from 78% in 2010, some of those who were unsure in 2010 appear to have made a decision, now believing their publication will only be digitally delivered in 5 years. This year, 12% said they agreed that their publication would be digital-only in 5 years, more than double the proportion (5%) that felt that way in 2010. Meanwhile, 58% of publishers say that the influence of mobile is not overstated, while only 30% believe that the potential impact of the distribution channel is being overhyped.
About the Data: ABC and ABC Interactive conducted the voluntary, Web-based survey September 8 and September 26, 2011. 171 qualified people completed the survey, with the majority (84%) being from the US.