Survey: Print Publishers Capitalizing on Opportunities Offered by Mobile Market

By: E&P Staff

Press release from issuing company.

ABC and ABCi Release Findings of Second Annual Mobile Survey

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Nov. 4, 2010) – Publisher members of the Audit Bureau of Circulations and ABC Interactive are implementing plans for harnessing the mobile market’s potential and focusing on strategies that increase revenue from the distribution channel. According to a new survey from ABC and ABCi, “Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Solidifying Strategies and Adapting to the Mobile Market,” publishers see digital distribution of their publication as an increasingly important element of their strategic future and are actively pursuing the new dissemination methods offered by mobile websites, e-readers and tablets, and smart phones to reach a new generation of consumers.

This is the second annual mobile survey from ABC and ABCi. The 2009 survey offered an early stage snapshot of the activities taking place in and around the mobile market. The latest iteration of research provides an update on the extensive developments taking place in this rapidly changing market.

“The mobile market presents extraordinary possibilities for publishers and advertisers alike and both groups are seeking ways to capitalize on the many opportunities,” said Michael Lavery, ABC president and managing director. “The results of our survey indicate that ABC members are in various stages of executing their mobile strategies. Many magazines and newspapers are already implementing their plans and tweaking their offerings while others are following close behind. The interest in ABC and ABCi’s multimedia reports is steadily increasing as more publishers include advertising alongside their mobile offerings and more advertisers seek independent verification of mobile statistics.”

Survey Highlights:
Mobile continues to receive more attention at newspapers, consumer magazines and business publications this year than last. Last year, 70 percent said mobile was receiving more attention at their publication; this year the number increased to 87 percent. Sixty-five percent believe that digital delivery of their publication is important to their strategic future, up from 55 percent last year.

Despite the increased focus on the mobile market, publishers still believe that their print publication is valuable and will continue to exist. Seventy-eight percent of respondents overwhelmingly disagreed that their publications would be delivered in a digital-only format within the next five years.

E-readers are clearly making their impact this year with the introduction of the Apple iPad and other tablet devices. In 2009, 42 percent of respondents believed that e-readers would become vital distribution channels for their publication. This year, that number jumped to 63 percent.

Survey respondents continue to list Apple as the number one e-reader manufacturer expected to impact the publishing market, but Google/Android makes a strong survey debut in second place, followed closely by

Despite Apple’s high ranking, publishers are concerned about its app business model and the way it shares data. Only 11 percent of respondents indicated they were satisfied with the analytics and subscriber information they receive from Apple. Nineteen percent said they were satisfied with Apple’s app business model.

All of ABC’s publisher members are experimenting with charging for mobile content. Forty-three percent of consumer magazines said they currently charge for mobile apps, followed by 39 percent of business publications and 21 percent of newspapers.

Publishers are optimistic about their ability to monetize mobile content. Thirty-seven percent expect mobile to significantly impact their revenue in just two years.

Survey Conclusions:
Publishers are beginning to solidify their mobile strategies while gauging how to adapt to a rapidly shifting market. The mobile market continues to receive more attention this year than last. More survey respondents are entering the space with websites formatted for viewing on mobile devices, apps designed for smart phones and e-readers, and clear plans for monetization. The larger publications are more likely to have launched their first round of initiatives, but small to midsize publications are not far behind.

Mobile continues to drive website traffic. With more consumers accessing the Internet via a mobile device, publishers are jumping at the opportunity to increase their overall website traffic. Seventy-five percent of survey respondents believe that mobile will be responsible for a five to 50 percent increase in their website traffic in the next two years.

E-readers and tablets begin to edge out smart phones. Publishers continue to explore distribution opportunities on both smart phones and e-readers/tablets. Last year, survey respondents were most hopeful about the potential of smart phones, likely related to the popularity of the iPhone. This year, with the iPad making its debut, more publishers expressed confidence in e-reader and tablet devices.

Apple currently leads the pack of manufacturers offering e-reader and tablet devices, but some concerns may drive publishers to other devices. Eighty-six percent of respondents said that Apple is the e-reader manufacturer most likely to impact the publishing market. However, only 11 percent of survey respondents said they were satisfied with the analytics and subscriber data they receive from Apple. Only 19 percent said they were content with Apple’s app business model.

Publishers are counting on both ad and subscription revenue. Many plan to charge one price to access a brand on multiple platforms. Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents said they believe that a combination of ad and subscription revenue is still the right strategy for monetizing the mobile market. Respondents said sponsorship, search, video and banner advertising have the greatest likelihood of success. Many plan to offer consumers the option of purchasing a bundled subscription that may include a print publication, mobile app and website access all for one price.

As ad spending grows and advertiser demand for accountability increases, publishers plan to offer audited mobile metrics. Nearly three-fourths of survey respondents believe advertiser demand for accountability will continue to grow as ad spending in the mobile market increases. The majority of publishers agree that reporting independently verified digital edition and website metrics on ABC reports would benefit the industry.

About the Survey
More information, including an executive summary of the survey findings and downloadable graphs, is available on ABC’s website.

The research for “Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Solidifying Strategies and Adapting to the Mobile Market” was conducted via a voluntary web-based survey held between July 19 and July 30, 2010.

About ABC/ABCi
ABC is a forum of North America’s leading magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. The organization provides credible, verified information essential to the media buying and selling process. ABC maintains the world’s foremost online database of audited circulation information and a growing array of readership, audience and website usage data. ABC’s digital arm, ABC Interactive, is one of the world’s leading independent auditors of websites and digital ad-based technology. To learn more, visit

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