Defining the Mobile Problem for Publishers
Check out this sneak peek of our Technology Issue where we explore the most pressing technology issues of the day. In this column Stephen Masiclat, director of Syracuse University's New Media Management graduate program outlines the mobile problem and why ultimately it's a platform publishers cannot ignore.
Olga O'Donnell has heard the hype, the relentless insistence that you have to be "mobile first." She's seen the numbers for mobile phone adoption too. But right now she just isn't convinced her company should worry too much about the mobile platform.
O'Donnell is director of sales strategy and client services for USA Today, and in that position she's come to believe that right now, mobile is just not an attractive platform for publishers. O'Donnell sees four fundamental problems with mobile content: the cost to participate is significant, it's not a high-engagement platform for content, the advertising ecosystem isn't standardized, and there is no rich data for publishers to monetize.
But publishers can't afford to ignore mobile for a simple reason: That's where the audience is. And therein lies the "mobile problem" that publishers are facing.
Following are insights from some media and technology leaders on how they define The Mobile Problem and what publishers might do to solve it.
Paying & Paying to Play
A publisher just getting into mobile platforms has to make a significant number of complex decisions. Do you build a native app or a responsive site? Do you launch on all major devices and operating systems or just the largest ones? Can your current CMS push content to mobile gateways or do you have to deploy a new system? How much re-training does your editorial and sales staff need to support this new platform?
And these questions are never really resolved because every time a new "must have" device appears, you have be prepared to re-build. This was the case when Apple released the high-resolution "Retina" screens and larger iPhones that required apps to quickly upgrade.
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