Survey: Publishers Continue Cross-Media Diversification, Begin to Monetize Mobile
ABC and ABCi Release Findings of Third Annual Mobile Survey
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Nov. 7, 2011)—Magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada are becoming more confident in their strategic mobile plans as they diversify their offerings and discover new ways to derive revenue. According to a new survey from the Audit Bureau of Circulations and ABC Interactive, “Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Maturing and Monetizing Their Offerings,” the number of publishers who say they have a well-developed plan for the mobile market rose to 59 percent, up from just 28 percent in 2009. And 67 percent said it was important to their strategic future to earn revenue from both ads and subscriptions.
This is the third annual mobile survey from ABC and ABCi. The accumulated data provides a unique glimpse into the evolution of the mobile market from the perspective of print publishers who are hoping to capitalize on new platforms. The 2009 version of the survey provided a hint of publishers’ initial reactions to smartphones and the 2010 results indicated a growing preference for tablets. This year’s survey gives yet another update on publishers’ diverse array of consumer offerings and how they’re dealing with a fragmented device market and competition from other mobile content creators.
“With three years of data to analyze, the ABC/ABCi mobile surveys offer a behind-the-scenes look into the workings of magazines and newspapers as they address the promises and challenges offered by the rise of the personal mobile device,” said Neal Lulofs, executive vice president and general manager, ABC Interactive. “This year’s survey results show the great strides publishers have made during the last two years and how they are preparing for a future where smartphones and tablets are a ubiquitous part of everyday life.”
- Eighty-five percent of survey respondents said they currently have mobile content for smartphones, e-readers or tablet devices, up from 76 percent last year. Newspapers (88%) were most likely to have mobile initiatives in place, followed closely by consumer magazines (83%) and business publications (79%). Publishers cite development and maintenance costs as the primary reason they did not have a mobile presence.
- Many believe that e-readers and tablets will be the biggest boon to their business. Seventy-three percent said readers are most likely to consume their content on e-readers or tablets compared to 60 percent who said the same thing about smartphones. In Canada, the gap was even wider. Fifty-seven percent said e-readers and tablets had the brightest future compared to just 34 percent for smartphones.
- Publishers in the U.S. and Canada are investing in optimized mobile websites. Eighty-one percent of U.S. publishers and 65 percent of Canadian publishers said this was an important part of their strategic plans. Respondents said mobile websites often account for up to 15 percent of their overall website impressions.
- When it comes to developing apps, most publishers are focusing their efforts on Apple products. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they have an iPhone app and fifty-four percent said they have an iPad app. Of those publishers with apps, 45 percent said they charge for their iPad apps, followed by 35 percent collecting payment for iPhone apps and 34 percent earning revenue from Amazon’s Kindle.
- While most publishers were optimistic about Apple’s new Newsstand offering, many still expressed frustration with the company’s fees and consumer information policies. Just eight percent said they thought Apple’s tactics were favorable to publishers. Forty-two percent said the publishing industry needs to develop an alternative to Apple to be successful in the future.
- 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%), banner (64%), sponsorship (62%) and video (62%).
- Publishers had mixed feelings about how to best charge consumers for accessing content on multiple platforms. Forty percent said readers should pay one price and receive access to all platforms—print, web, mobile—while another 40 percent said readers should pay more for each additional platform.
There was more agreement regarding buyers’ expectations from mobile advertising. Seventy-four percent of U.S. publishers and 70 percent of Canadian publishers said advertisers would 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 percent said multimedia reports like ABC’s Consolidated Media Report will become increasingly important as their portfolios diversify.
About the Survey
More information, including an executive summary of the survey findings and downloadable graphs, is available on ABC’s website. The results of the survey will be further discussed at ABC’s annual conference, “The Integrated Audience: Bridging Customers, Communities and Content,” on Nov. 9 and 10 in San Francisco.
The research for “Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Maturing and Monetizing Their Offerings” was conducted via a voluntary web-based survey held between Sept. 8 and Sept. 26, 2011.
ABC is a forum of North America's leading magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. The organization provides credible, verified information essential to the media buying and selling process. ABC maintains the world’s foremost online database of audited circulation information and a growing array of readership, audience and website usage data. ABC’s digital arm, ABC Interactive, is one of the world’s leading independent auditors of websites and digital ad-based technology. To learn more, visit http://www.accessabc.com.
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