The media monster was unleashed in 2010. It started with the Apple iPad announcement in April and is eating everything in it tracks. This monster has created a gold rush mentality from developers and magazine publishers to build content for the iPad in the U.S. This monster is fuelled by the expectation that the iPad will replicate Apple’s 77% market share they have in the digital music market with iPods for tablet computers.
Photo courtesy of Sony Canada
This monster is going to grow and have offspring as there will be over 20 new devices to be announced at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January 5-9 from other manufacturers.
Publishers, including myself had to embark on a major learning curve in 2010 on how to tame this monster by producing content for all the new devices in the marketplace. Publishers in 2011 will have to create content for 3.5”, 6” and 10” mobile screens and ensure that it works on the Apple, Android and Blackberry devices. The emergence of the Apple APP store as a new channel of distribution for magazine subscribers adds another dimension to the media monster.
I asked Polar Mobile CEO Kunal Gupta, who has worked with publications including Transcontinental's The Hockey News
to provide some of his insights on the mobile device marketplace to help shape our thinking on how to tame this new media monster.
Question: What was the most important market development in 2010 and what does the future hold in 2011?
: “2010 was an important year as it saw a few key market trends become mainstream and bring additional spotlight onto mobile. One of these is the increasing penetration of smartphones, regardless of which device (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows, etc.). It is not uncommon for the average consumer to carry a smartphone, know how to do more than make a phone call or send a text message from it. This is the start of a major opportunity for publishers and brands to use smartphones as a real marketing and content consumption medium.
Another early market trend was how more and more devices, or appliances, are now connected. TVs, cars, fridges, gaming consoles and tablets are all coming fast with the ability for consumers to download Apps and have access to new services they previously did not have access to. “
I envision the magazine of 2011 will be a combination of print and digital with magazine publishers providing subscription bundles that include email newsletters, print and digital options. Social networking on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook will be a new way to generate subscribers, as a Facebook friend is just the same as an opt-in subscriber. I also believe publishers will be able to carve out a paid online circulation revenue due to the specialized content of a magazine. Advertisers will realize a magazine reader in print or digital offers a better qualified audience versus a typical key word search campaign.
Media planners will look at the time spent per reading occasion and how many times online articles are read as part of their evaluation. In the digital world the reading occasions might be on their smartphone while at the hockey rink, at home reading on an eReader, or at work on a computer. For some print-era publishers this can be overwhelming and scary change in readership habits. The demographic profile of these digital readers tend to be younger and more affluent.
But, where is the money online? I believe email marketing is the key to online advertising revenue growth. In other words, a subscriber email database with geographical and demographic profiles. How publishers get that email can be driven through email newsletters, digital editions designed for the screen, contests and data mining. Ad buys I have worked on are now 50% email, 25% print and 25% banner ads, so publishers better make sure that they do these three well, before they take on the media monster. Sponsorship of an Apple app launch is a good way to leverage this opportunity with advertisers and piggyback on the monster’s back.
Publishers cannot afford to cut corners and build a digital infrastructure based on a WordPress website template and other similar free or almost free digital publishing services. The monster will eat you alive, as advertisers want a quality environment for their brands. Why would a national advertiser do a $10,000 ad buy with your magazine if you are not willing to invest in your product that reflects their needs?
So for 2011 what do you want to be the next meal for the media monster? The one that slays the beast.