Magazines on-the-go: MPA summit examines mobile media

With that in mind, the MPA brought together leaders from across magazine media at the Hearst Tower in New York for Mobile Matters, a day-long conference examining the fastest growing audience platform—and the largely untapped engagement and monetization opportunities it holds.

The program began with a greeting from Eric John, Digital Strategy and Initiatives at the MPA, who put into context the importance of mobile devices as a medium. Mobile ads comprise 30 per cent of digital spending, John reported, and that figure is estimated to climb as high as 70 per cent by 2019.

John then welcomed Forrester Research senior analyst Susan Bidel to the auditorium stage. Bidel gave the audience a breakdown of the mobile consumer, both by demographic and mobile device. Among Bidel’s key points were the fact that Generation X, those born between 1960 and 1980, still represent the largest online population. While millennials may be more tech-inclined, Generation X has far more disposable income to spend on connective devices. Additionally, while tablets may fade away as smartphone screens grow larger and larger, internet-connected television could be a space for growth. Smartwatches are another technology to watch, Bidel said; while many smartwatches consist of little more than a “glorified pedometer,” 21 per cent of online adults in the US sport “wearables,” such as the Apple Watch or Fitbit.

Next up was “Capturing Attention in the Micro-Mobile Moment,” a panel discussion hosted by John with Time Inc.’s Ian Orefice, senior executive video producer, and Callie Schweitzer, editorial director of audience strategy. The discussion explored ways in which publishers can get the most out of their mobile content in terms of audience discovery and engagement. Orefice and Schweitzer described various success stories from Time Inc., including Southern Living’s wildly successful “Oreo Cookie Balls” instructional video, Tom Hanks’ Tumblr (Tom-blr?) takeover in conjunction with Entertainment Weekly to promote his film Bridge of Spies, and Time’s ongoing “A Year in Space” documentary series with astronaut Scott Kelly.

“Mobilizing Video” brought National Geographic’s VP of product management Jim Kelleher, Hearst Digital Media VP of audience Brian Madden, Capture Inc. founder and CEO Jordan Osher, and Condé Nast Entertainment VP and head of digital video production Jed Weintrob to the stage. Weintrob described one of the 3,000 videos that Condé Nast Entertainment produces each year, “Shower Thoughts” with actress Anna Kendrick, which saw tremendous engagement on Facebook. Madden then described his approach when creating video content with a partner.

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