FT Mobile Growth: Infographic
The FT’s digital audience growth is going from strength to strength, with more readers logging on while off the desktop - both during breakfast and on commute home. That’s according to the below infographic, take a look for yourself:
Source: FT via Paid Content
Future Culls Print in Favour of Digital – or ‘the Future’s Bright’
Some worrying news came out last week regarding Future Publishing. The publisher of special-interest titles confirmed a full 10% of its 1,000 strong workforce is to be made redundant and eight print titles will face closure or be sold on, all following poor company performance in the US.
On the potential chopping board are DVD & Blu-Ray Review, Hi-Fi Choice, What Satellite & Digital TV, Home Cinema Choice, London Tech Guides & Bookazines, Photoshop Focus Guides, Nitro and Redline. Presumably the 100 job will come from mostly, if not entirely, those titles. It wasn’t so long ago Future made cuts in the UK too, closing print titles including PC Answers magazine.
The one silver lining is the news is part of a wider move toward more focus on digital publishing – hence less print titles. As Paid Content puts it “the move will streamline the company to focus more on digital content”. Indeed, while profits from print sales and advertising may be a sizable thorn in Future’s side, digital on its own is apparently doing well. In May digital revenues passed £1 million for the first time, which now represents a third of total ad revenue.
As bad news as closures may be, it’s encouraging to see a significant publisher taking a strong stance in digital and, seemingly, making it work as a standalone business. Future has developed a few pioneering digital initiatives, T3’s iPad app for one, and this may be the ‘re-focus’ the company needs to push on in the digital space.
Groupon boosting The Times’ Digital Subs - but for how long?
The Times has seen its digital subscribers jump up significantly over the Easter weeekend after running a discount of 70% off a subscription on Groupon, the online voucher site.
The Groupon discount has added over 1,500 new digital subscribers (at time of writing) to the official 79,000 figure Murdoch’s digitally enclosed broadsheet reportedly had last month. Using the discount, new subscribers receive 70% off a three month subscription, meaning it costs just £7.80 instead of £25.98 according to Paid Content.
What would be really interesting, and revealing, to know is how many of these subscribers were clambering to vault over the paywall all along and just needed a little incentive, and how many just thought they’d have a go at the discounted price with minimal or no intention of becoming long term subscribers. The former would be very encouraging for the paper and paid-for news in general, while the latter would suggest the value of online news is much lower in the eyes of the target audience compared to publishers.
In any case, the The Times’ subscription model locks people in for a three month period - all the way to the middle of Summer. So the number will be looking good as we head into this year’s silly season.
Why won’t The Guardian invest in its own iPhone app?
The Guardian has a new app out for iPhone and iPod Touch, following the original release in December 2009. The release coincides a few stats from the developers on success to date. Over 200,000 downloads in the past year and a bit, with around 75% of those users still using on a monthly basis, and 25% accessing content every single day. No indication of who amongst that 25% also access guardian.co.uk - or even fork over a few bits of shrapnel for a slice of ink stained tree.
The new app sounds like it is up to scratch. Rightly so because in this game, as the developers’ note on the Inside Guardian.co.uk Blog, you can’t afford to “stand still”. They’re not standing still on pricing either. Having opted for a single one off payment of £2.39 for the first version of the app, this new one will work on a rolling subscription of £2.99 for six months or £3.99 for a full 12.
In the US it’s different again. Ad revenue will support the app, which will be free to US news consumers - with the underlying aim of increasing presence in the lucrative stateside market.
I’m not averse to charging for online content, either in app or paywall form. What’s interesting is how the paper justifies the change in payment structure. The developers state “While we remain committed to offering our content for free on guardian.co.uk and our recently upgraded mobile website, it’s clear that in order to deliver the highest quality product for a single platform, considerable investment is required.” I’m no digital accountant, but I’m pretty sure an overhaul of a mobile site, and maintaining a national newspaper’s website would also require ‘significant investment’.
Doubtless such costs are factored into yearly budgeting as a matter of course nowadays, but what stopped a little extra for the iPhone app being thrown into the pot? Then there’s development of apps for other platforms, Android, Windows and the like, to consider. Perhaps 200,000 downloads a year was just not enough to justify internal investment by GMG. Which begs the question what would be?
Another question is where is the iPad app? The Guardian has the Eyewitness app for iPad, but as far as I know there’s no full blown news centric app (someone correct me if I’m wrong). Some people believe there’s a market for news on Apple’s tablet. Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch for two (although the first of this pairing isn’t exactly impartial) and Richard Branson for another. Not a list to everyone’s taste, but certainly not a list of people prone to poor business decisions.
Here are some of the key new features from the makers, judge for yourself if it’s worth the subscription cost:
- Faster, automatic updates for our live news and sport blogs - no need to refresh
- A new football scores service with free goal alerts by team and match for the main UK leagues and European competitions
- Our award-winning video content is included for the first time, and looks great whether you’re connected via 3G or Wi-Fi
- You’ll see reader comments below articles that are open to them; we’ll be adding in the ability to add comments via the app as soon as we can
- A brand new homepage design - look out for the multimedia carousel - and a new treatment for live blogs
- A new way to view the stories trending across guardian.co.uk and social media (otherwise known as Zeitgeist on our website)
- Use the app in portrait or landscape mode
- A brand new search facility, which we believe makes this one of the most comprehensive news apps