Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Technology takes news away from journalists

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

The takeover of news via the software necessary for digital platforms may be the  the biggest threat to journalism, not where or how people get information, says the annual State of the News Media Report.

“The biggest issue ahead may not be lack of audience or even lack of new revenue experiments. It may be that in the digital realm the news industry is no longer in control of its own future,” Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell of the Project for Excellence in Journalism write.

For the first time ever, more people regularly get their news online (46 percent) than from print newspapers (40 percent), the study says.  In fact, “Every media sector is losing audience now except online. …  In 2010 every news platform saw audiences either stall or decline — except for the Web.”

Rosenstiel and Mitchell say, “News organizations — old and new — still produce most of the content audiences consume. But each technological advance has added a new layer of complexity — and a new set of players — in connecting that content to consumers and advertisers.

“In the digital space, the organizations that produce the news increasingly rely on independent networks to sell their ads. They depend on aggregators (such as Google) and social networks (such as Facebook) to bring them a substantial portion of their audience. And now, as news consumption becomes more mobile, news companies must follow the rules of device makers (such as Apple) and software developers (Google again) to deliver their content. Each new platform often requires a new software program. And the new players take a share of the revenue and in many cases also control the audience data.

“That data may be the most important commodity of all. In a media world where consumers decide what news they want to get and how they want to get it, the future will belong to those who understand the public’s changing behavior and can target content and advertising to snugly fit the interests of each user. That knowledge — and the expertise in gathering it — increasingly resides with technology companies outside journalism.”

Smartphone apps mine, forward personal data

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Your smartphone is spying on you and peddling the information to advertising companies, the Wall Street Journal said Saturday.

The WSJ tested 101 popular smartphone “apps” – games and other software applications for iPhone and Android phones – and found that 56 transmitted the phone’s unique device ID – effectively a “supercookie” that cannot be erased, the article says –  to other companies without the  users’ awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone’s location. Five sent the user’s age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.

Examples the WSJ cites include TextPlus 4, a popular iPhone app for text messaging, which sent the phone’s unique ID number to eight ad companies and the phone’s ZIP code, along with the user’s age and gender, to two of the ad companies; and the music app Pandora, which sent age, gender, location and phone identifiers to various ad networks. Grindr, an iPhone app for meeting gay men, sent gender, location and phone ID to three ad companies.

Because of the test’s size, it’s not known if the pattern – more than half of apps sharing info – holds among the hundreds of thousands of apps available, the newspaper says.

The article has the “we care about our customers” statements you’d expect from iPhone maker Apple Inc. and Android maker Google Inc. But, “‘In the world of mobile, there is no anonymity,’ says Michael Becker of the Mobile Marketing Association, an industry trade group. A cellphone is ‘always with us. It’s always on.'”

Why does this  matter? “The main companies setting ground rules for app data-gathering have big stakes in the ad business,” the WSJ says. “The two most popular platforms for new U.S. smartphones are Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. Google and Apple also run the two biggest services, by revenue, for putting ads on mobile phones.

“Apple and Google ad networks let advertisers target groups of users. Both companies say they don’t track individuals based on the way they use apps.”

And, “Ad sales on phones account for less than 5 percent of the $23 billion in annual Internet advertising. But spending on mobile ads is growing faster than the market overall.

“Central to this growth: the ad networks whose business is connecting advertisers with apps. Many ad networks offer software ‘kits’ that automatically insert ads into an app. The kits also track where users spend time inside the app.”

The WSJ says it tested its own iPhone app, btw, and it did not send out data.

iPad users dropping print newspapers

Friday, December 10th, 2010

A survey out of the University of Missouri’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute backs the previously stated notion that the iPad is the future of newspapers.

The survey, which AdWeek calls “one of the first deep dives into how people are consuming news content on the eight-month-old device,” said that most heavy users of the tablet have or will drop their print subscriptions.

“These findings are encouraging for newspaper publishers who plan to begin charging for subscriptions on their iPad app editions early next year, but our survey also found a potential downside: iPad news apps may diminish newspaper print subscriptions in 2011,” said Roger Fidler, RJI’s program director for digital publishing.

The survey contacted more than 1,600 iPad users online from September to November. It found that “58 percent of respondents who use the Apple tablet at least an hour a day for news are very likely to cancel their subscription in the next six months. One in 10 said they had already done so.”

Another survey, by GfK MRI, found about 4 percent of adults read newspapers or magazines via apps or mobile devices.

Mobile gets more attention, brings little money

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Newspaper publishers are embracing mobile platforms – iPad, tablet, e-reader and smart phones – more this year than last and say mobile will be important for their future but there’s still not much money on the horizon, according to a survey by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The numbers show 87 percent of respondents saying mobile is receiving more attention at their publication than in 2009, and that 65 percent think digital delivery of their publication is important to their strategic future, up from 55 percent last year.

But only 37 percent of publishers surveyed said they expect mobile revenues to “significantly impact” their revenue streams within the next two years. And, “Despite the increased focus on the mobile market, publishers still believe that their print publication is valuable and will continue to exist,” E&P said. “Seventy-eight percent of respondents overwhelmingly disagreed that their publications would be delivered in a digital-only format within the next five years.”

While real money maybe a ways away if it ever comes from mobile platforms, publishers hope to make what they can through advertising and subscriptions. “Respondents said sponsorship, search, video and banner advertising have the greatest likelihood of success,” E&P said. “Many plan to offer consumers the option of purchasing a bundled subscription that may include a print publication, mobile app and website access all for one price.”

iPad the future for newspapers, everyone else

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Two media heavyweights commenting overseas landed on the iPad as the future of newspapers. And folks are buying it.

Lionel Barber, editor of Financial Times, at a meeting organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in Mumbai on Tuesday said flexibility and adaptability are key to newspapers’ survival.

“Today, newspapers cannot stay confined to the print medium, Barber said, according to Sify News. “Journalists will have to be willing to create more value, and newspaper managements will have to be flexible in terms of the content platform. After the Web, it was the iPad [that] FT tapped into. And in the last three and a half months, we have had half a million downloads of the application.”

Meanwhile, Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer, told Media Week at the Media Guardian Changing Advertising Summit on Tuesday,  “iPads will save newspapers, they really will.”

Marketing magazine says Weed added: “The sort of guys I hang out with, the iPad idiots, we’re all on them… I used to have a pile of newspapers in the morning but now I flick through my iPad.”

“In addition to the newspaper apps for sites such as the Financial Times, globetrotter Weed cited the restaurant guide and booking service Zagat to Go, and the airline apps, as among his favorites and most used.”

And, indeed, sales of the iPad have pushed Apple’s stock to record highs, according to the Associated Press.

“Apple’s iPad is setting the standards for this generation of tablet computers as competitors scramble to match the design and functions,” the AP says. “So far, no credible challengers have hit the market.

“In the first quarter it was available, Apple sold 3.3 million iPads. That’s about three times the number of iPhones sold in the first full quarter the smart phones were on sale in 2007. … Analysts’ estimates for iPad unit sales in 2011 are in flux, with those on the conservative end putting the number around 20 million while more bullish forecasters say it could be 50 million.”

Newspapers, e-readers a natural fit

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

It’s not surprising that the same adults affluent enough to buy an e-reader, such as a Kindle or Nook, also still read newspapers.

“Scarborough Research found that fully 78 percent of adults in so-called ‘e-reader households,’ which number about 4 million, read a newspaper in print or online within the past week,” Editor & Publisher says. “That compares with 71 percent of all adults. E-reader households are 11 percent more likely to read a newspaper regularly than an average adult.”

Adults in e-reader households are also 9 percent percent more likely than all adults nationally to have read a printed newspaper during the past week, and 48 percent more likely than all consumers nationally to have visited a newspaper website within the past month.

“E-reader devices are becoming an important technology for millions of Americans, and our data confirms their emergence as a natural companion to newspapers,” said Gary Meo, senior vice president of digital media and newspaper services for Scarborough Research. “At this point, many newspaper publishers are determining strategies for making their content available on e-reader devices, and this is creating a new opportunity to monetize content and increase readership.”

Local advertisers to spend less with newspapers

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

One in four local businesses surveyed across 40 states say they plan to cut back on newspaper advertising, Alan Mutter says on his Reflections of a Newsosaur blog. Instead they’ll spend more on web, social and mobile media.

The survey is by ITZBelden in conjunction with the American Press Institute.

When advertisers were asked where they planned to target their marketing dollars in 2010, the average allocation for newspapers was 23 percent,” Mutter says. “While this percentage would leave newspapers as the dominant local medium in most places, it is well below the 35 percent-plus market share that publishers enjoyed in the pre-Internet era.”

The poll indicates local advertisers will spend 13 percent of their ad budgets this year on digital media, giving digital media “the second-largest share of the dollars spent on advertising in a typical market, surpassing such traditional rivals as direct mail, television and the Yellow Pages.”

Newspapers can’t afford to lose retail advertisers, he says. “One potentially powerful way for newspapers to reassert their relevance to advertisers is by establishing themselves as experts in the growing array of digital media that merchants are hoping to use to lure customers to their businesses.”

Mutter has lots more at the link above.

USAT moves toward mobile, business interests

Monday, August 30th, 2010

USA Today, the nation’s second largest newspaper, has announced its most significant changes since its 1982 debut as it de-emphasizes print and ramps up availability via mobile devices. The move will include the elimination of  about 130 jobs and a breach of the church/state divide between news and business interests.

For starters, the newspaper will no longer have separate managing editors overseeing its News, Sports, Money and Life sections. “The newsroom instead will be broken up into a cluster of  ‘content rings’ each headed up by editors who will be appointed later this year,” the Associated Press says. The paper’s current Life ME will be executive editor of content.

USA Today’s restructuring will “usher in a new way of doing business that aligns sales efforts with the content we produce,” according to a slide show presented to USA Today’s staff, which The AP obtained.

The executive editor of content will have a “collaborative relationship” with USA Today’s newly appointed vice president of business development, according to one slide.

The paper will “focus less on print … and more on producing content for all platforms (Web, mobile, iPad and other digital formats),” the slide show said.

The AP says USA Today’s circulation has fallen from 2.3 million in 2007 to an average of 1.83 million during the six months ending in March. Advertising has fallen by about 50 percent between 2006 and the quarter ending this past June.

Here’s the news release.