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.
Set a course for tablets: Engage
If there’s one sector that’s paying good attention to the rise and rise of the tablet (that is PC, not prescribed pills of course), it’s journalism. The efforts to bring traditional media outlets to a screen 7-10 inches across is raising a few new questions for the PR world. How do these ‘tablet editions’ stack up to web and print publications? How much reach do they have? Are readers more engaged? Who has the best one?
At least one of these questions has had a hint of an answer from TigerStrike, a media and mobile consultancy, this week. According to a recent survey of tablet reader, the consultancy found average engagement time with an app based publication is between 30-40 minutes – with the average app getting five times as many page views as its web counterpart.
If true, or even partly true, this makes the editorial space in each tablet edition very precious for PRs. More engaged readers means your audience is far more primed for influence from the beautifully crafted news stories that flow fluidly from press releases (don’t raise that eyebrow, it’s been known to happen).
Of course, the flip side is somewhere behind each of these encouraging news stories and surveys is a PR working for the Telegraph Media Group, Economist etc, who wants their company’s digital genius to be recognised as the groundbreaking app. So take it all with this a PR’s portion of salt – at least during these early rounds.