Thursday, January 27, 2011

Build broad app portfolios, publishers told

Publishers can’t base their mobile strategies on a single app for the iPad and another for smart phones, warns a thoughtful new white paper from the International Newsmedia Marketing Association.

Rather, the study says, publishers have to produce an ever-evolving variety of apps for each platform to appeal to an increasingly fragmented market of consumers.

The INMA report, which was released today on the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the iPad, can be purchased here.

“You no longer can say we make one thing for everyone,” said Swiss media strategist Gerd Leonhard, who was quoted in the worldwide survey by the industry association. “I may like to read a magazine where all the links are active, videos are playing, where I can chat with people. But many others may just want to read.”

Because different consumers have different expectations, the study advises publishers to build suites of specialized applications – weather apps, stock apps or travel apps – that focus on doing one thing but doing it well.

And publishers evidently will need to keep them coming, too. As illustrated in this separate study by Pinch Media a year ago, 95% of users abandoned their free iPhone apps within 20 days of downloading them.

Notwithstanding the costs associated with producing a continuously replenished supply of apps, the INMA study warns publishers not to expect to be able to charge as much for the digital renditions of their print products as they get for the real thing.

Although “iTunes was supposed to reinvigorate the music Industry” by making it possible for record labels to sell each of the 12 songs on an album for $1 apiece, “very few people are buying,” said Leonhard. “iTunes is a huge success but music industry profits declined 65%.”

He and others quoted in the report tell publishers they will have to look to advertising, sponsorships and other sources to realize the full revenue potential for their mobile initiatives.

Apart from the technical and commercial challenges associated with app development, publishers will face some cultural issues, too.

“One of the problems for publishers is they’ve always wanted to have a mass medium,” said Leonhard. “Now, we have a mass of small mediums.”


Blogger iceboxlogic said...

Precisely. For decades it's been impossible for an audience to interact with news media on its own terms. Now news simply has to be personalized (well beyond the "abandoned app" phenomenon) in order to survive. The real sea-change is in understanding the new currency of the web isn't cash or even time: it's narrative that sparks action...or better: interaction. Those who grasp this will survive (ex:'s investigative/database/crowdsourcing frameworks)...everybody else: nightnight. This is one great blog. Thanks.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:11 PM  

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