Print publishers ready to go mobile, says ABC

A new survey by the Audit Bureau of Circulation finds 80% of Canadians are likely to rely on mobile for information in the next three years.

The newspaper and magazine biz is getting ready to meet consumer demand for mobile access to their publications, according to a new survey released this week by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).

The study, Going Mobile: How publishers are preparing for the burgeoning digital market, surveyed 372 print publications (34 of which were Canadian) about their plans for the mobile market.

Highlights include findings that just under half (44%) of respondents who track the impact of mobile technology like smartphones on their website traffic said it increased visits by up to 10% to date, and that half of those said they think mobile-to-website traffic will go up by 5 to 25% in the next two years. Over half (56%) of senior execs surveyed said their pub has plans to develop a mobile app in the next two years, and 17% said they already have one in production. More than a third of all respondents said they had a well-developed plan for ‘attacking and conquering the mobile market’ in the years to come.

Revenue models were queried as well, with more than half of those surveyed saying they believed mobile content will be supported by a mix of advertising and subscriptions, and almost a third say they expect mobile to have a ‘significant impact’ on their publication’s revenue in three years. A little over half (55%) of respondents indicated that digital delivery of their publication is important to their strategic future, but three-quarters said they didn’t think print was going anywhere and that their pub would still be available in that medium five years from now.

Although the study featured largely American respondents, the growth of mobile and the opportunities associated with it for print publications and advertisers will likely be matched in Canada, says Joan Brehl, VP and GM, ABC Canada, adding that the growing focus on mobile is a good thing for the industry.

‘I think it really demonstrates that publishers are forward thinking, and [that] they are looking to the consumer, their constituents and what their media usage is, and demonstrates how they’re adapting to the changing environment,’ Brehl tells MiC.

The growth in mobile media is something that advertisers are beginning to take advantage of because of the medium’s immediacy and niche-targeting abilities, Sunni Boot, president and CEO of ZenithOptimedia, tells MiC. ‘ZenithOptimedia is predicting an 18% investment in online. As yet the mobile medium is too small to capture, but if we look to the future, this medium has the potential to capture up to 10% of all digital advertising in the next three years.’

‘The increased focus on mobile by print publishers plays well into our growing needs for mobile and all forms of digital publishing,’ she says. ‘Print mediums are evolving into the multi-platform channels that readers and advertisers want to engage with. ABC is seeing a heightened interest in the area and responding accordingly, which should escalate the use of digital [and] mobile platforms, as we will have confidence in the numbers and be in a position to make better informed decisions.’

Download the executive summary of the study here.