Google head of product partnerships on trends in mobile publishing

Luca Forlin, head of international product partnerships at Google will be a speaker at FIPP’s upcoming Innovation Forum in London from 26-27 June 2014.
FIPP Innovation Forum
We asked Luca about trends in mobile publishing and how Google sees the future evolve.
How is the rise of mobile devices changing the industry and content?
There are two things right now. The first is the around the devices and the second is around usage. The fact is users like to receive content and they want to receive it no matter what device they are on. The interesting element is that we have seen huge growth in smaller tablets – phablets – which are taking a huge share of the market from the bigger tablets. Does that change much in terms of what publishers do? The truth is we are not yet sure. What is clear is that publishers must abandon the idea of designing something one way and move to a world where content actually adapts. Optimization is really important. The second thing is that, while phablets are taking over, in reality they belong to the smartphone family, which is entirely different from big tablets. That again forces them to abandon their old habits. Small screen sizes require much more simplicity, different design logic and different content. That said, the usage hasn’t changed. People love content. They still want to get content, be sent content, find content and access it very quickly – but they just want to be able to do it with a thumb. That’s the impact of tablets.
What are the really good content providers doing right in terms of delivering through these platforms?
To be honest, I am not sure I have come across anyone who has perfected the model yet. And if I had, we wouldn’t be talking about this because everybody would now be working to the same model. The magazine industry still has to undergo fundamental transformation to benefit from the new technologies. One of the things we are noticing is that users love digests. If you look at the publishing space, there is a strong element of digest, whereby the content providers are identifying content that is useful to users and delivering it.
How is data and analytics being best used across these platforms?
I think big publishers are doing data and analytics well. There is an element of refinement and complexity that plays to the bigger firms because they have the resources and the ability to take advantage of that. Use of data and analytics is much less among the smaller firms and I would say on the whole most are not using it. But it is immensely valuable. The guys who do it best are the ones that actually follow their users. They are at a level of refinement where they can actually follow single readers on their path of accessing content, then purchasing content and then purchasing subscriptions. It’s all about being close enough to offer relevance.
What really excites you about the future of this space?
For me, the excitement comes from the disruption. The publishing industry is undergoing a true revolution. The disruptive technologies coming into play are forcing everyone to change radically the way they write, develop and distribute content. The monthly titles are having to become weekly publications, the weeklies are becoming dailies and the dailies are trying to be always-on. Everyone is having to work faster and better. But the content must remain of the same quality – if not even better than it was before. There is now an even stronger focus on valuable and quality content – so those two things together are very exciting, and who knows where they will take us.
FIPP’s Innovation Forum and Innovations World Report
FIPP’s Innovation Forum builds on five years of FIPP’s Innovation Report, and will brings innovators together to share, discuss and debate real-life innovation cases included in the 2014 Report and beyond. Unlike traditional speaker-led events, the Forum will be more interactive, allowing participants to:
  • See, discuss and debate case studies
  • Engage with experts and international colleagues
  • Debate best application in markets across the world
  • Get practical take-outs to empower your businesses and brands
The Forum opens with an overview of the best innovations worldwide in the past year, before deep diving into topics such as (with presenter companies in brackets):
  • Video (Meredith, Don’t Panic)
  • Social media and video advertising (Unruly)
  • Smartphones (Elle [Hearst UK], Blippar)
  • Tablets, phablets and phones (Google)
  • Native advertising [Buzzfeed, Prisma Media)
  • Programmatic advertising (Sanoma Media)
  • Enewsletters and mobile-focused publishing (Quartz)
  • Ecommerce (Hubert Burda Media)
  • Application of smart data and analytics (EMAP, Applix)
  • Events, conferences and experiences (Time Out)
  • Print (Flow [Sanoma Media], Innovation Media Consulting)
  • Building a culture of innovation (Innovation Media Consulting)
Attendees at the Innovation Forum will receive free copies of the 2014 Innovations in Magazine Media World Report. The report includes top innovation case studies from the top publishing houses around the world. 
The fifth edition of Innovations features five of the major changes exploding on the magazine media front: mobile as the dominant platform, programmatic advertising, video, big data, and native advertising. For further information on the report, including translation rights and bulk rates, contact Helen Bland or Sylkia Cartagena.
FIPP members: remember you get free access to all the digital editions of FIPP’s research report (valued at £687 per person per year). If you require access or have questions, please contact Helen Bland or Sylkia Cartagena.

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