Formulate an Effective Mobile Strategy
"Our filter is always ... is it going to help us grow audiences, is it going to help us grow revenue? If the answer is 'yes' to either, those are worthwhile discussions, If the answer is 'yes' to both, those are priority discussions," stresses Oslund.
Look for niche opportunities in your areas of focus that could be popular on apps. With apps, it's hard to charge for content that is already ad-supported on the Internet, so Schurz looks for specialized content that they can attach paid models to. The publisher's first paid app product focuses on coverage of Notre Dame sports, leveraging a passionate fan base and global brand.
Using outside vendors allows you to experiment. Look for models that support innovation by allowing you to try products without breaking the bank. "This allows us to say 'yes' more often, to take risks," Oslund notes. "... The model supports the idea that you have not put so much money into it up front that you become married to it. If you put $100,000 into something, you're married to it, and sometimes you make poor choices based on having to make that investment work."
If you can create 100 apps fast and efficiently, even if 75 fail, "that would be a pretty good story to tell, that we have 25 apps out there that are a hit," Oslund says. With large, up-front costs, apps come less frequently, and the stakes are higher. (Schurz hopes to have 50 apps on the market by the end of this year.)
Integrate with social media efforts. "To have a social strategy is to have a mobile strategy, because that's how people interact with the social space." Schurz is trying to leverage its "social databases" in interesting and new ways, tying apps back to Facebook and Twitter via social hooks.