How Magazines Fit the Mobile Space
Understanding the way readers relate to content on mobile devices.
âInevitableâ is the way Anil Malhotra, senior VP of marketing at Bango Inc., views mobile delivery of publications. So far, publishers use mobile delivery primarily for promotional purposes and to keep up with new technology. Posting the current issue of the magazine on a mobile portal and allowing free access is a way for users to sample the content. âMost people wonât read a whole magazine on a mobile device,â says Cimarron Buser, VP marketing and product planning at Texterity, Inc. âIf theyâre interested, theyâll subscribe to the print or digital edition.â Texterity has been offering mobile delivery to its mostly b-to-b clients since last fallâbut solely on the iPhone and iPod Touch, the rationale being that the screens are big, with a nice display, and they can handle the complexity of a magazine.
Zinio has been testing mobile delivery of magazine content on iPhone and iPod Touch for its mostly consumer clients since mid-February. According to Zinioâs testing, consumers would like mobile delivery bundled with either a digital subscription or a single-issue purchase, or they would pay for mobile delivery on a stand-alone basis. âWe havenât heard that they wonât pay for it,â says CEO Rich Maggiotto, âso thereâs money to be made.â
Compatibility and Costs
Delivering mobile magazine contentâprimarily text and graphicsâis not particularly complex, but publishers must determine the devices and screen sizes that their readers prefer. Bangoâs platformâwhich ranges from $200 to $300 for localized services and up to $1,500 for complex services with global reachâis set up to handle the differences among devices, âso the publisher can concentrate on the editorial content,â says Malhotra.
Print as Added Value
âMobile delivery is category-specific, which is why weâre very interested in it,â says Tom Hartle, CEO of Hartle Media, which publishes Spin. âItâs certainly big in the music world.â At a concert recently, Hartle was able to take advantage of Spinâs access to the bands and, using technology supplied by Kyte (a mobile app developer), capture live images and sound from private parties and interviews and then stream that content directly to peopleâs cellphones.
âI can reach tens of thousands of people in a weekend for an investment of several hundred dollars,â says Hartle. New subscription sales havenât been impacted by mobile but Spin is experiencing a greater return on renewals and higher Internet orders.
Hartle sees advertising revenue as a possibility. Actually, he envisions a scenario where print magazines become the added value. âThatâs not to devalue print,â he explains, âbut youâre dead if your revenue is based on just selling print magazines. You must sell your brand.â