About a month ago, I was reading an article about the rise of news aggregation mobile apps and their value to magazine and newspaper publishers whose digital edition apps only make up 3.8 per cent of their paid circulation.
Why so little? The author suggests that news apps, unlike the open web, do not allow for “frictionless discovery” of content. That assertion definitely has merit – content discovery has changed significantly in the past decade; but I also believe changing reading behaviours are a major factor.
Today’s news consumers are more promiscuous, more social and more topic-focused than their predecessors. They also demand a more fluid, seamless reading experience – one without roadblocks – an experience most newspaper and magazine apps do not offer. Instead traditional publishers continue to embrace the branded replica format – a layout that may still appeal to their older readers, but not the growing population of digital natives.
To facilitate both “frictionless discovery” and serve a new generation of readers, publishers need to offer high-quality content, adopt the latest technologies and offer multiple presentation formats to ensure their content is borderless, searchable, shareable and profitable.
Let’s take a look at magazines, for example. Unlike newspapers, magazines often contain evergreen content of significant value to readers long after their issue date – if readers could ever find it. But most mobile magazine apps aren’t searchable even within the publication, let alone across issues, due to limits of their image-based digital publishing technology.
Devaluing their content by offering it through free news aggregators may be the easy route for publishers to reach some of these readers, but it’s not going to grow revenues in any significant way.
The only way that publishers can monetise their content and give readers what they want is to ‘think outside the app’, offer premium content and look to adopt HTML5 for their digital properties.
HTML5 has matured to the point that it successfully powers the largest aggregated newspaper and magazine platform (PressReader.com) with a reach of more than 250 million people. With its 100 per cent cross-platform engine, PressReader offers multiple content presentation formats and adapts the layout of quality content on-the-fly as readers interact with it. It also supports social logins, cross-title search, sharing, translation, commenting and personalisation.
And the best news for publishers is that they get paid a fixed royalty every time their content is read.
Free news aggregator apps may be useful to a certain extent for creating brand awareness with new audiences, but revenue growth and profits come from:
Free news aggregation native mobile apps may have been on the rise in 2014, but I maintain that HTML5 is poised to slow down their momentum as publishers start to see how publishing solutions built on the new standard can grow their audience and bottom lines without cannibalising their existing revenue streams.
More like this
We recently launched the new FIPP.com (in beta, while doing live testing and refinements). The relaunch is not only about look and feel, but even more so about us providing a platform to further enable the sharing of ideas, insights and opinions within our global network. If you have a story to tell, or are interested in contributing to FIPP.com on a regular basis, get in touch with our communications manager, Amy Duffin.
Publishers need to think again about why people spend time with their content. Is it getting attention because it deserves it, or just a lucky spin of the social media slot machine?12th Mar 2018 Opinion
When I look at the state of mainstream media, I can’t help but ask the question. Why are so many news publishers pivoting back to paywalls when they didn’t work for most of them before?12th Mar 2018 Opinion
Good reporting is the life blood of any effective organisation. Clean data, clear reporting insight and right strategy are points on a continuum to maximum revenue. But today reporting has evolved to a swamp of endless possibilities, and not exactly a clear one. Add the fact that everyone uses different metrics and the frustration is complete.2nd Mar 2018 Opinion
Sponsored content - A lot is being said about millennials. But whether you think they’re engaged and confident or self-centered and demanding, they are crucial to the success of business. Not just because they are responsible for 600 billion dollars of spending every year in the US only, but also because millennials simply are our future employees and customers.1st Mar 2018 Opinion
It’s been another year of rapid change and innovative publishers continue to assemble a quiver full of new solutions to drive their businesses forward – something that becomes apparent when you page through the new 2018/19 edition of Innovation in Magazine Media 2018-2019 World Report, launched today at Digital Innovators’ Summit (DIS) in Berlin.19th Mar 2018 Features
From being described as an “internet midget” losing hundreds of millions a mere 17 years ago, Axel Springer managed to rebuild itself into a digital publishing powerhouse. Dr. Andreas Wiele, President Classifieds and Marketing Media at Axel Springer, Germany, explains how the German media giant faced off a near death experience.20th Mar 2018 Features
Maureen Hoch, editor of Harvard Business Review’s HBR.org on Monday provided insight into the experimental work HBR has been doing with new media formats in the past year to reach and engage audiences, including subscribers, in new ways.19th Mar 2018 Features
In a world where content distribution has gone digital, we are witnessing the death of industrial marketing - paving the way for the Amazonification of media: a digital environment were the gap between inspiration and transaction will be closed down almost completely, says Troy Young, Global President, Hearst Digital Media, USA.19th Mar 2018 Features
With countless publishing brands battling to maintain cash-flow and build a solid business model, many are pinning their hopes on building subscription businesses. During this week’s Digital Innovators’ Summit (DIS) in Berlin the topic proved to be a recurring theme.20th Mar 2018 Features
Visit our Youtube channelFIND OUT MORE
FIPP newsletters allow you to keep up with industry trends, research, training and events across the worldFIND OUT MORE
Get global coverage of your launches, company news and innovationsFIND OUT MORE
What’s happening now, what’s coming next