“Please don’t blow it – there’s a big opportunity for mobile with newspaper companies,” was Martha Stone, director of the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper project, opening statement to the World Editors Forum (WEF) and World Association of Newspapers (WAN) conference in Hyderabad today.
But organisations must take it seriously ‘from the get go’, added Stone: “Even if you don’t see the business model immediately, just as we didn’t see a business model immediately for the internet.”
Sharing research from a new study, Stone said building iPhone apps and applications for other mobile properties was top priority across an international range of newspaper respondents.
So what should these groups be building?
Stone went on to outline the revenue opportunities for newspapers in mobile:
- Permission databases
- Chat and dating
- Mobile search
- Mobile blogging
- SMS alerts and interactions
- MMS broadcasts
Mobile is already a key part of some newspapers’ advertising strategy, added Stone, who cited the examples of USA Today and the Sacramento Bee both using text advertising on mobile.
The Sacramento Bee in particular has used mobile advertising for previously print-only advertisers – a campaign for one plant nursery client using text advertising resulted in its largest weekend of sales.
More mature mobile markets have taken the proposition further – Scandinavian title Aftonbladet has used QR codes in both editorial and advertising.
Looking beyond traditional newspaper ground may be significant, in particular for the opportunities that lie in mobile social networking. Japanese social networking site Mobage Town, for example, which has 12 million people registered, uses advertising, affiliate sponsorships and avatar sales to generate revenues.