Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Smart Phones – A new channel of distribution
The hype surrounding smart phones and tablets has put magazine publishers in a box. It almost forces them to have a mobile digital distribution strategy in order to survive and prosper. IDC market estimates have smartphone penetration in Canada at 20% and its skews MOPEs (Managers, Owners, Professionals & Entrepreneurs), and young men 18-25, a good fit for B2B publications and men’s consumer magazines.

Engagement of readers on mobile devices according to Flurry on the iPhone and Android devices show that entertainment, games, lifestyle, news and social networking were the activities most used on the smartphone with time spent ranging from 5-10 minutes.

 


I estimate the future make-up of a free B2B magazine will consist of 65% print and 35% digital editions. The 35% digital will be comprised of mobile readers scattered amongst many devices. ( I will explore paid consumer titles in a future posting) A survey of PenWell Publishing readers, a B2B USA based publisher shows a snapshot of what type of devices readers prefer for their digital magazines.

 


For B2B magazines the importance of the Blackberry for the corporate market cannot be undervalued. The Blackberry has grown primarily as the best email device for corporate users with keyboard that is easier to type than the touch keypad. I have chatted with people that have switch back to Blackberry after using the iPhone because they were heavy email users. My biggest pain is that smartphones are too small for me with my big hands.


Here are some of the latest devices that are available to consumers this Christmas buying season:

 

Key  Features- Email, Phone, Camera, Media Player, wifi

Screen Size
– 3.2 inch touch screen

Key Board – Touch and pull-out key board

Operating System – Blackberry 6.0

Blackberry Apps - 7-10,000 apps with a million downloads a day

 

Key  Features- Email, Phone, Camera, Media Player, wifi

Screen Size – 3.5 inch touch screen

Key Board – Touch only

Operating System
– Android

Android Apps
 - Over 80,ooo apps available

 


Key  Features- Email, Phone, Camera, Media Player, wifi

Screen Size
– 3.2 inch touch screen

Key Board – Pull out wide keyboard

Operating System – Android

Android Apps - Over 80,000 apps available

 


Key  Features- Email, Phone, Video Phone, Camera, Media Player, wifi

Screen Size – 3.5 inch diagonal touch screen

Key Board – Touch only

Operating System – Apple

Apple Apps - Over 250,000 apps available

What the industry is realizing that a digital replica of their magazine will not work on a 3.5 inch screen. It must be optimized for a smaller screen. When I was on the agency side we always designed for the medium so this principle also applies for magazine publishers. This can be done as a mobile app,  mobile website or optimized digital edition.

To create an app opens a can of worms for magazine publishers, as you will need to create an app based on the smartphone manufacturer. The market has formed where you will need to create an app for Apple, Blackberry and Android devices. You might also have to create one for a Microsoft and HP/Palm too if their latest smartphone gets a following in the marketplace. There is a  need for a cross platform digital publishing solution that works on all devices that won’t break the bank.

An early adopter of mobile content delivery in Canada is Transcontinental-published The Hockey News, who reported at the 2010 ABC annual meeting in Toronto that they have surpassed 1 million downloads of their mobile app. So we know there is a market to grow our brands in.

- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners online publishing, ad sales and acquisition/selling brokerage services. His media services also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He also moonlights as a pro goalie as a "rent a goalie" at mypuck.com.
Most Recent Blog Comment
Tracie Berardi says:
This is a really helpful overview Marty. You touch on good points in your blog. -- Tracie...
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