Mobile Media Strategies: The mobile market's challenges and the opportunity for publishers
Patrick Smith @ TheMediaBriefing Experts' Blog - on 19/7/12
On 25 September TheMediaBriefing hosts Mobile Media Strategies, the only UK event on mobile product development and business models designed for and by content publishers, featuring speakers from Future, Dennis, The Guardian and more. In a new series, we look at the challenges and opportunities as content moves from print, to screen to device.
We know that people who read magazines, newspapers and websites are increasingly consuming them via mobile devices. Whether that's catching up on BBC news on the bus, or reading The Economist on the sofa - this is not a revolution that's going away any time soon.
But is the real size of the market and the opportunity for content publishers?
This week's Ofcom Communications Market Report tells us:
-- UK households have on average three different types of internet-enabled devices, such as laptops, phones, tablets and games consoles.
-- Four in ten adults own a smartphone - a 12 percent increase on 2011. Of this category, 42 percent say their phone is the most important device for accessing the internet.
-- Overall the time Britons spend accessing the internet via their phones has increased by a quarter in the last 12 months.
Still taking the tablets?
The thing that gets publishers very excited, particularly those in the consumer magazine world, is tablets. Thankfully, consumers are excited about them too. More stats from the Ofcom report:
-- More than one in ten UK adults own a tablet device. Apple's iPad is way out in front, with analysts putting UK sales at about six million.
-- The pace of change is lightning fast - in Q1 2011 just 1 percent of UK households owned a tablet. One in five households intend to buy a tablet in the next year.
-- One in ten adults own an e-reader - Amazon's Kindle is the clear favourite.
What do people use tablets for?
The Ofcom data shows tablets usage is growing at a phenomenal rate, that people mainly use them for entertainment and usually within the home - nine out of ten tablet owners "mainly" use their device at home.
These are "lean back" devices - Nielsen estimates that 30 percent of US tablet owners use their gadget while watching TV.
What should publishers do with this information? Adapt. ABC News in the US changed its app to fit with its users' habits: the peak usage hours are between 7pm and 10pm, with readers consuming 20 percent more articles. So now there are morning, noon and nighttime editions to cater for each style of browsing.
But will they pay?
This is the tricky bit. While it doesn't seem that hard for Apple to convince consumers to part with £400 for an iPad, it's not as straightforward convincing people to buy your content.
Susan Whiting from Nielsen reports that during Q4 2011 just six percent of UK tablet owners downloaded paid for magazine content. On the flipside, UK folk really like their news and a healthy 19 percent forked out for news content on their tablets.
Interestingly, in the US this is reversed with magazine payments (41 percent) outweighing news payments (19 percent).
Publisher can't ignore that their content is competing in a fight for attention and payments with games, movies, books and TV:
So there are countless challenges but also opportunities in mobile publishing - to get the latest strategy and ideas from industry leaders including Future Publishing, The Guardian, Enders Analysis, Informa and more, come to Mobile Media Strategies in London on September 25 - and save £100 with our early bird offer until 10 August.
Finally here's Tom Standage of The Economist talking at last year's Mobile Media Strategies about the magazine's leanback strategy: