Non-linear and non-predictable: Making news mobile

In order to compete successfully for the attention and engagement of today’s busy and demanding public, publishers must deliver high-quality, relevant content in real time.

The rise of mobile media is quickly reshaping the publishing landscape in South Africa. This is evident from a recent study conducted by e-Marketer indicating that the “smartphone audience growth in South Africa this year, will see a 27.1 per cent increase in users”. It also maintains that “while feature phone users were still more likely to use their phones for other leisure activities like reading celebrity news and gossip (25 per cent vs. 19 per cent of smartphone users), smartphone users followed up on sports news and scores more than those with basic models”.

We are also seeing echoing trends in other markets, where more and more users are turning to mobile sites and apps for news. MasterCard’s Digital Evolution Index found that “emerging markets are adopting mobile phones at an astonishing rate” and that “the next billion users (25 per cent of the current total) will come from 60 per cent of the global population still not digitally connected”.

Mobile consumption of content will naturally bring with it new behavioural patterns, which mean publishers must rethink how they package and present their product.

One implication of mobile media is that news consumption is no longer linear and predictable. Where old media audiences used to sit down and read a newspaper end-to-end, listen to a radio talk show on their way to work, or watch prime time television, their behaviour today is far more context-bound.

People don’t follow predictable routines anymore, nor do they make specific times in their schedules for media. Instead, they’re always on the go and dive in for content via a smartphone when they have spare time or when they need information. And while they once sought news recaps and headlines, today they expect greater value when they turn to a publication because they have often followed developments in a breaking news story on social media all day.

What’s more, most people are so busy and media-saturated that they want accurate news content provided in a user-friendly, easy and digestible manner so that they don’t need to sift through multiple feeds and sources.

Source: The Media Online

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