Mobile Revenue Opportunities Apparent to Print Publishers

November 18, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Metrics | Digital | Financial Services | Magazines | Mobile Phone | Newspapers | Paid Search | Technology | Uncategorized

abc-publishers-expected-growth-for-mobile-revenue-in-next-2-years-nov11.gifAlthough many print publications are struggling with subscription and advertising revenues as a result of consumers’ easy access to digital news, a majority (57%) of US publishers expect to see increases in mobile advertising revenue in the next two years, according to [download page] a study released in November 2011 by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). Data from “Going Mobile: How Publishers are Maturing and Monetizing Their Offerings” indicates that about half of US publishers also expect mobile to increase subscription revenue in the next 24 months. By contrast, just 22% of Canadian publishers say they expect revenue increases from advertising or subscription sales. Overall, two-thirds of US and Canadian print publishers believe that driving money from both channels is key to building a successful mobile program.

Search Ads Potential Seen

abc-publishers-mobile-ads.jpgTwo-thirds of publishers believe that search has a bright future as a mobile advertising channel. Indeed, according to a November Macquarie Group report that used data from Efficient Frontier clients, mobile search ad spending has soared of late, with approximately 6-7% of total online search advertising budgets being devoted to mobile search, representing almost triple the share from just one year ago. Furthermore, Macquarie predicts an even greater acceleration of growth in the next year, with mobile phones and tablet search spending potentially accounting for 16-22% of search advertising budgets by the end of 2012.

Meanwhile, a majority of print publishers also see advertising potential from store locators (65%) and banners (64%), while lead generation (30%), click-to-call (25%), text (22%), games (21%), and polls (16%) were less popular.

Mixed Feelings on Marketing Approaches

Publishers appear to have mixed feelings on how best to charge for access to their content on various platforms. While newspapers are split down the middle on whether to charge consumers one price to access stories on all platforms or to charge extra for each additional platform, magazines and business publications have more opinionated, yet divergent views. 57% of business publications say they should only charge consumers once, more than double the proportion (24%) in favor of charging for each platform. By contrast, 46% of magazines think consumers should pay for each additional platform, compared to 28% who feel they should pay one price.

According to Pew survey results released in October, at this point just 14% of tablet news users have paid directly to access news on their tablet. Another 23% get digital access of some kind through a print newspaper or magazine subscription. Of those who haven’t paid directly, just 21% say they would be willing to spend $5 per month if that were the only way to access their favorite source on the tablet.

Transparency and Data to Result from Increased Mobile Use

As publishers’ mobile offerings mature, so might their transparency, driven by advertiser demand. In fact, 3 in 4 US publishers agree that advertising buyers will increase their desire for mobile metrics, compared to just 6% that disagree. Roughly two-thirds of the respondents overall agree that the industry needs to report expanded digital usage metrics such as access rates and time spent, while less than 1 in 10 say they do not want to provide the additional information to buyers.

Other Findings

  • More than half of the publishers responding to the ABC survey said they had apps for the iPhone and iPad, while 43% had apps for the Android OS.
  • Publishers are most likely to charge for their iOS apps: 45% charge for their iPad apps, while 35% charge for their iPhone apps. By contrast, less than one-quarter charge for their Android offerings.
  • 73% of magazines said they receive revenue from their iPad apps, compared to 42% of newspapers and 23% of business publications. Publishers take note: according to the October Pew survey (see link above), of tablet owners who have news apps, 83% say that being free or low cost was a major factor in their decision about what to download.

About the Data: ABC and ABC Interactive conducted the voluntary, Web-based survey September 8 and September 26, 2011. 171 qualified people completed the survey, with the majority (84%) being from the US.

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