Most US publications have mobile presence: industry

Almost all major US newspapers and magazines have a mobile Web presence, and most of those without one will create one in the coming months, an industry survey showed Monday.

The report by the Alliance for Audited Media, formerly known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations, said 90 percent of the publications of its members survey had a mobile presence, up from 51 percent in 2009.

The remaining 10 percent expect to follow suit within the next 12 months.

The survey said publishers, unlike a few years ago, are looking at how to make mobile apps and platforms profitable: 22 percent said their smartphone and tablet apps or platforms are currently money-makers, and half expect these platforms to become profitable over the next two years.

The survey showed Apple the dominant platform for these apps: 85 percent of publishers have iPhone apps and 87 percent iPad apps.

But the number of publishers developing Amazon Kindle apps has grown from 24 percent in 2011 to 67 percent in 2012. Nook apps, for those using the Barnes & Noble platform, have increased from 14 percent in 2011 to 57 percent in 2012.

"Media companies know that delivering content whenever and wherever consumers want is key," said Eric John, AAM vice president of digital services.

"They know digital content, including browser-based editions and mobile apps, is no longer the wave of the future, but table stakes to continue reaching and growing digital readership."

John said the survey showed publishers "have embraced tablets, smartphones and the Web as an integral part of their overall cross-platform publishing strategy.

They are meeting their readers where they live -- in print, on tablets and smartphones, and on the Web."

According to the survey, media companies are producing 3.4 iPad and iPhone apps, three Kindle apps and 2.4 Nook apps.

Some 56 percent of charge for content on the iPad, followed by the iPhone at 42 percent, Kindle at 38 percent and Nook at 31 percent.

But subscriptions are not the only revenue source. The majority of respondents agreed a dual revenue stream from advertising and subscriptions is necessary to make digital platforms profitable.

AAM said that 48 percent of newspapers have a paywall to charge for some or all of their content. Combined percentages for newspapers, magazines and business publications show 41 percent currently use a paywall.

Of those currently without a paywall, 44 percent plan to implement one in the next two years.

The most popular type of paywall is metered, where customers may access a limited number of articles before payment is required.

Some 40 percent use metered paywalls, while 17 percent use a hard paywall where payment is required to read any content.

And 33 percent use a combination paywall that restricts access to premium content.

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