Here is an article I wrote for Netimperative:
Mobile just might be the salvation to publisher’s online woes, argues Christian Louca, Managing Director of YOC Group.
Speak to anyone in the publishing industry and they will all tell you the same thing – it’s changing. And fast. When news emerged in August that News Corp would begin to start charging online customers for news content across all its websites later this year to cover big losses, ripples spread across the industry. A recent survey by the Harris group has revealed however that only 5% of web users would pay for online news. This raises the question – just how are publishers going to recover from significant losses and reductions in advertising revenue?
The answer it seems lies in mobile. As the one thing that a person will not leave the house without, ahead of even the wallet, the device that is always on and always available, mobile is increasingly becoming a channel that people are turning to for their media consumption needs whilst on the go. Our lifestyles are changing. No longer will we rely on the daily newspaper being delivered to our door, wait until we get to the office to check news online, only read a free commuter newspaper, or wait until we can turn the TV on when we get home from work. Now we demand content around the clock and on the go; to be able to access what we want, when we want and wherever we want it. That’s where mobile comes in.
With increasing screen sizes, higher resolution, longer battery life, improved 3G network speeds and coverage, better web browsing capabilities (and of course the launch of the iPhone), mobile phones are no longer a device that you simply use to call someone. We’ve already seen a large number of the UK’s national newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Sun and The Times begin to offer content on the mobile with dedicated mobile sites, as well as large publishers such as Haymarket and IDG as the trend towards mobile builds.
With the growing consumer demand for instant access to fresh, new original content, mobile websites are going a long way to satisfy this need. We don’t want to read the entire copy of The Daily Telegraph on our mobile or devour our favourite magazine from cover to cover. What we do want however is short snappy pieces of content – the top five news stories of the day, a snapshot of the weather, a quick glance at the stock market, for example. It’s not simply a case of copying content over from the PC onto the mobile. It’s about understanding what a reader wants when they consume content on the mobile and then being able to deliver relevant tailored information.
The exceptional targeting, immediacy and ability to tailor and personalise content directly to consumers provides a compelling proposition for publishers and their advertisers; keen to build a one-on-one dialogue with the readership. Where online and print advertising revenues may be falling, in mobile they are only getting bigger. For brands looking to build a relationship with their customers and target them with specific relevant content, mobile publisher websites provide the perfect platform. A reader of PistonHeads mobile website is a lot more likely to click through on a Mercedes banner advert than they would for a new face cream, for example. By its very nature, mobile is accountable. Every brand that invests in a mobile advertising campaign is able to track its spend. They can see if a consumer clicks through a banner advert, if they request a brochure or provide their contact details, and that is a powerful reason for brands to invest in mobile. As the number of mobile websites offered by publishers increases, brands will have a perfect opportunity to outreach directly to their customers.
People aren’t going to stop reading print publications or stop accessing content on the internet completely, but as publishers are faced with dwindling advertising revenues, we’re going to see the mobile channel emerge as an attractive complementary channel. With the increase in availability of all you can eat data bundles and better mobile internet browsing capabilities, and the ability to target content and advertising to the individual, mobile will come into its own and sit alongside print; providing readers with relevant content, accessible when and where they want it.
Christian Louca is Managing Director at full service mobile marketing agency the YOC Group.