Media Brand Reps outweigh Facebook and Twitter recommendations
Good news for fans of mobile news consumption in the US – mobile news consumption in the US is on the up.
That’s according to The State of the News Media 2012, which is an annual report on American Journalism from Pew Research, don’t you know.
The report is, according to The Guardian’s Greenslade blog, a “comprehensive analysis of the health of journalism in America”. Results show those in the US who consume news on mobile devices are not replacing their previous news digestion habits, but adding to them. They’re also reading more, and for longer.
According to the report, 34% of PC (desktop and laptop) news enthusiasts now also get their news on a smartphone – presumably when they are not using said PC while on the bus, out for a stroll or queuing up (perhaps to buy a newspaper, just for giggles). Even with one mobile device as a news source, over a quarter (27%) also consume news on a tablet. That’s at least three separate connected devices all used to get their news.
Is this surprising? Not so much. Rather than actively choosing to consume news on different devices, the ease of use and readily available apps means consumers will pick up whatever is nearest / most appropriate for location. For example, when out and about walking to the train station you’ll scroll through news on your phone, and then when/if you take a seat on the train you can switch to your tablet before hitting up your desktop at work.
What is interesting is the perception of a media outlet’s brand verses social media. According to The Guardian piece, “despite the explosion in social media use through the likes of Facebook and Twitter, recommendations from friends are not yet a major factor in steering news consumption” when compared to a publication’s brand and reputation. It seems we’re far more likely to trust an established media outlet with our mobile news than a link with ‘this cat video is so funny lolz’ on our Twitter feed.
The Daily vs Livestand: which provides tablet news content?
News Corp’s iPad only newspaper, The Daily, has had some of the wind knocked out of its sails lately. Having touted an ever increasing number of subscribers since its launch in February, Paid Content has reported the actual number of subscribers is around 80,000 - according to publisher Greg Clayman.
That’s still not half bad, with the majority paying the $39.99 yearly subscription rate. Obviously the content and iPad only consumption model must appeal to some. It’s also around 10,000 subscribers a month, with an average engagement time of 20 minutes.
But it’s not the only model for tablet news consumption. Yahoo has been touting its own tablet news app since February, but taking a different tact. The Livestand project, which may launch as early as this week, offers up aggregated content in the same fashion as existing apps, but with a key difference - its HTML5 based. This means there’s no need for an app store to distribute to tablets, and no cut of subscriptions to Apple, potentially better integration of ads for advertisers and a single destination for users to pull in all the rich news content the web has to offer.
It’s tough to guess which of these will be the more popular format for tablet-based news - the fully personalised aggregation experience or the more traditional single stream of news and features laced with the political and economic beliefs of its publishers. Whichever wins the day, the heavyweights of the web world are certainly bought into the tablet format.
Paywalls and Digital Subscriptions: More a Question of How than If
It seems paywalls are becoming pretty darn common. Haymarket has now got in on the act, adding digital subscriptions to its marketing titles.
From this summer, Marketing, Campaign, PRWeek, and Media Week will offer “a mix of free and paid-for content”. It’s not yet clear what content will be free and what will be paid for, Paid Content notes there will be three tiers of subscription:
- “Premium Access, for full online access to all titles, plus a printed edition of one print magazine”
- “Online Access, for full access to all digital resources and archived materials, including all Brand Republic Group titles”
- “Print Access, an option to simply buy a subscription to a single print magazine”
It seems the question of whether readers are willing to pay for content online is steadily turning into how will readers pay. Granted this is only a handful of traditional print titles, but the fact they’re aimed squarely at an avid set of readers, PRs and marketing types, demonstrates Haymarket believes the collective readerships are strong enough to draw in a paying audience.
At least a large enough one to keep attracting advertisers and make a bit of cash inbetween subscriptions and ad sales.
Book Publishing Comes ‘Full Circle’ with Social Media
This week, I was one of the few lucky enough to attend the rather prestigious FT Digital Media and Broadcasting Conference. After the opening discussions on day two with big wig types from FOX Sports and BSkyB (bit of unfortunate timing for them), a panel discussion titled Engaging Readers in the Digital Age kicked off.
Amongst the three panels was Chris Cleave, New York Times #1 bestselling novelist.
Aside from being a top notch author, Cleave is also very passionate about engaging with his readers and had a particular interest in online and social media activity. Specifically, he mused about a future where authors and novelists no longer publish a complete book as a standalone text. Instead, short extracts, a chapter at a time for example, could be published on a weekly basis online or in a digital format and promoted to an authors online following. The ‘immediacy’ of self-publishing in the digital age, he said, made this a simple task for any writer. He even proposed the idea of authors writing to a weekly deadline and engaging with readers about their work as it is published.
For him, and many others following the debate on Twitter, this represented a return to older forms of publishing – where novels were first published in cereal form, such as with Charles Dickens’ original works.
As one tweeter put it “The Novel goes full circle: Social media could lead to novels being published in short extracts”.
An interesting notion on that shows social media doesn’t just create new levels of engagement, but breathes new life into old ideas.
‘Damn the publishers’? What happened to points for trying?
Telegraph.co.uk published a rather damning piece on iPad magazine apps this week. Monty Munford, a seasoned tech journalist, is less than optimistic about the future prospects of such apps, especially in the UK:
“For all the furore about the iPad being the saviour of magazines and the future for paid journalism, the market is pitifully small in the UK…and there are plenty of reasons why this is unlikely to change for years.”
“I don’t doubt there is a market here, but publishers need to be more innovative. I like reading Private Eye and while I may not subscribe to it, I always buy it at an airport or railway station. Even so, I don’t find all of it interesting, but I’d certainly be interested in buying an app that gave me a choice of its content to cherry pick.”