“A new survey by the Pew Research Center released Monday found more than a quarter of all American adults read news on their mobile.” –Pew research
This headline from the March 3rd edition of MobileMarketing Daily caught our attention. The headline is taken from the recently release Understanding The Participatory Newspaper Consumer which is a deep analysis of the publishing ecosystem. From our perspective as a mobile publishing company the most encouraging news for publishers is the degree to which younger readers – the readers newspaper publisher need to bring into their franchise – are using their mobile devices to access news and information where and when they want. This table taken from the study confirms that younger adults are much more likely to access news and information on their mobile than older adults – 43% adults under 50 expect to find at least some of news and information that they need on their mobiles.
We are not surprised by the importance of mobile as a trusted source of news and information for younger adults. The iPhone apps we have built for our publishing clients continue to drive double digit growth in new subscribers and page views. As important, app publishers are experiencing month over month growth in average number of articles read. This tells us that iPhone app subscribers have quickly adapted newspapers to fit their reading habits – they no longer need to be in front of the paper or online editions to access the news they want when they want it We expect to continued growth in on demand newspaper as more and more adults move to app enabled phones.
We remind our publishing clients that Apple app editions deliver a young readership – almost half of whom are under the age of 34 according to AdMob research.– and that these apps are the pipeline to their future franchise.
When most of us think of Apple app editions, we usually think of the iPhone as the most likely delivery device. But as Flurry research shows, the iTouch now delivers 41% of all Apple app user sessions
AdMob data above clearly demonstrates that the iTouch user profile is very different from the iPhone user profile – three quarters of iTouch users are below the age of 18 vv 15% of iPhone users. We believe that the iTouch cohort is of vital importance to publishers for two reasons.
1) Because they can and do access the App Store just as easily as iPhone users, they are a captive audience for news and information relevant to them
2) They are now locked in to satisfying their information and entertainment needs with proprietary Apple hardware and software. As they mature, the migration to the iPhone and iPad will be a natural and seamless progression for them.
I must have drank some seriously potent iPhone Kool-aid while I was in San Fran for the Web 2.0 Summit. Ever since I have been back all I can even think, dream or talk about is the huge potential behind the iPhone. The problem is that some people, in some cases even Apple, do not seem to be fully appreciating the scope of what is possible here.
The most recent example of a company failing to see the full potential behind this new platform is Penguin Publishing. I received an email from a colleague at the start of the week letting me know about a new application that Penguin released. It’s part of a broad sweeping initiative by the publisher to embrace the new social web, so kudos to them for finally jumping on the band wagon. However their iPhone application simply does the following, and I quote, “It makes the features of the Web site—the blog, book previews, podcasts, news and Penguin-specific book-finding tools—available on the iPhone.” Wow, awesome, but am I missing something here? What about the potential of literally selling people books to read on the iPhone through the application? They now have a direct channel to a medium that users can easily read their books on, why not skip over all the book re-sellers and simply sell the digital format of these books through their app? I dont get it! I am not saying that they should stop using book stores to sell their products, but the iPhone is a highly effective tool for reading books, why not go straight to the source?
I recently downloaded Stanza (an e-book reader application for the iPhone) and blasted through Animal Farm in 3 days flat. The reading experience on the iPhone is an absolute pleasure. I actually enjoyed reading using my phone over and above reading a traditional paper back (I may just be a seriously early adopter though). The best part about it is that I never have to lug around another book with me. All I have to do is go to Stanza’s book store, download a new book and its with me everywhere I go. If the iPhone really is to become a new medium for content, why would Penguin develop an application that does not include an ebook reader so you can simply download their new releases and old classics directly into your phone while your on the go?
The other element of this whole debacle that eludes me is why Apple has not made an e-book reader part of their own native application bundle. They have an internet browser, a music and video player, a camera, but no book reader. If this is really going to become the new media device of the future, they certainly should include the most trusted form of content … text! And whats more is they have the perfect distribution channel to be selling e-books through; iTunes! They already sell audio books, why not sell ebooks also to be read directly through an application on their phone just like MP3’s. Hell they can even include DRM for all I care, to get the publishers on the board.
There is a lot of potential here in the field of text based content on the iPhone that a lot of people seem to be looking over in favour of more flashy features. I love all the potential behind some of these new innovative features but In my opinion (please keep in mind the line I stated off with, that I definitely drank some potent iPhone kool-aid) the iPhone has the potential to destroy Amazon’s Kindle business and in turn the future of Amazon’s e-book sales. Who wants to lug around an extra device or another book when you already have everything you need in your pocket? Not me, thats for sure.