Mobile is Waiting in the Wings: Will it Steal the Show?
The end of media as we know it has been predicted for a few years, but only now is there a ring of truth to it—in the sense that an old business model is giving way to a new one, but without the stability or knowledge of the outcome.
While magazines and newspapers, especially those covering general and business news, are grappling with hemorrhaging circulation and lower ad revenues due to online cannibalization of print, they often forget another medium in the wings waiting to change the model yet again: mobile.
In both online and mobile, consumers drive the trends. Put simply, readers increasingly prefer the interactivity, ease of use, convenience and timeliness of news and videos on digital media such as traditional and mobile websites and applications.
Another major attraction of the online and mobile mediums is that four-letter word that is the bête noire of legacy media operations: free.
So here are some tips to guide publishers as they set about implementing their mobile publishing plans.
1. Have a viable business model.
Publishers looking into mobile have to decide their business model at the outset: paid subscription, free with advertising support, paid subscription and ad support, or free with single sponsor, etc.
Whatever the decision, the model should sync with the online model you pursue. It does not bear to repeat what happened with online and print, where the newer channel was free to access despite being more sophisticated, while the older channel stuck to newsstand or subscription pricing.
The obvious preference would be to start with free access supported by ads, then test the waters with paid subscription. Indeed, charge for SMS alerts, if the reader wants the latest updates on financial-market movements or sports news, for example.