Ifra Conference: Digital Trend Day – How mobile savvy is your newspaper?
9 May 2006, Radisson SAS Hotel Airport, Amsterdam
## Communicating with readers/listeners in the 21st Century
# Mark Challinor, European President, INMA,
Managing Director, Buzz Mobile Marketing, UK
Media consumption is changing, said Challinor, by way of explaining why newspapers need to find new ways of communicating with readers/listeners. Increasingly, target groups are becoming defined by interests rather than geography or traditional demographics. Also, consumers are consuming more media, but in smaller bites. The biggest changes are taking place among the young reader groups.
“It’s a myth that young people don’t read,” said Challinor. “The key to attracting them is to provide relevant content, delivered in a way and in a tone which is suitable.”
Getting started with mobile services, Challinor said, is a four-stage process:
1. Create interaction with readers, using print or online
2. Develop the user database (harnessing responses)
3. Focus on how you are going to increase your revenue through the services
4. Build content for mobile
He emphasised that the stages need to happen in that order: “In particular, don’t try to make money first – without establishing reader interaction nothing will happen. … Whatever you do in mobile, build a strategy and go for it, don’t just dabble!”
## Developing a mobile strategy across the portfolio
# Bettina Schifko, Project Manager, Styria Media AG, Austria
Styria Medien is one of Austria’s biggest newspaper publishers, but it also publishers newspapers in Croatia and Slovenia. Croatia, in particular, is a very active market when it comes to SMS messaging, with 72 SMS messages being sent per user per month, compared to about 35, for example, for western European countries.
In 2005 Styria formulated a strategy for its mobile service offerings. The starting point was going back to the company’s core competencies: “Our core competencies had, since several years, been defined as collecting, editing, selecting, designing, etc of content and distributing it to all relevant platforms,” said Schifko. “Today, one of these is mobile phones.”
To formulate its mobile strategy, Styria looked closely at the mobile situation, and methodically went through it:
1. First the existing mobile services (in 2005) were grouped into four categories: Interaction, Info Services, Entertainment, and Marketing.
2. The next step was to identify which customer requirements the publisher was satisfying through each of the types of service. “You may design a service and promote it intensely, and still nobody uses it – if you ask yourself why, you may realise it isn’t actually satisfying any customer need,” said Schifko.
3. Then it was time to identify what USP was generated by each service.
Styria found that their most important competitors were the mobile operators with their portals. Knowing how the mobile works, what their market looks like, how their competitors act and how their users think, Styria set out their strategic roadmap. There were two choices, as far as they were concerned:
1. Use the mobile market to strengthen existing brands.
2. Focussing on the mobile entertainment market.
Styria chose to strengthen their brand.
## The Ad agency perspective: Active management – the key to winning mobile consumers
# Ruud Wanck, Commercial Director, Mediaedge:cia, The Netherlands
He started out by saying that mobile media isn’t really new – all that’s changed is when and where people get, for example, news; it’s still just another medium. For the advertiser, it means new potential points of contact with the consumer.
He said there are five main features of this new world:
> “Eyeballs” in themselves no longer create sales effect
> The consumer is a key stakeholder in brand guardianship
> The focus is on dialogue and consumer actions
> An interaction is a prerequisite to that dialogue
> Consumers will only judge a brand after they have interacted with it.
He said that for newspapers it’s about creating new ‘brands,’ which distribute platform-independent content:
> Trusted brands can provide context and interpretation
> Consumers will cherry pick and decide where and when
> Platforms have to interact to connect with consumers
> The focus is on dialogue and the consumer actions resulting from it
> Engage with consumers; use the right channel at the right time.
## Revenue sharing & business models: strengthening your role as a content provider
# Stig Nordqvist, Director Business Development, Ifra
Nordqvist identified four main business areas for newspapers using mobile technology:
1. New business
2. Extending your existing products (1 and 2 mean new products, which will lead to new revenue)
3. Internal tool for production and editorial
4. Let customers ‘do it themselves’ – such as booking classified ads (3 and 4 will lead to savings and increased productivity)
“You need to continue to provide things like ring tones and wallpaper, because you want to attract people who want mobile services,” said Nordqvist. “As far as do-it-yourself type services go, they are useful from a revenue point of view, in that they can reduce barriers to advertising, by making life easier for the consumer.”
He went through the revenue-sharing (with mobile operators) stats, where Japan, China and Finland are in the best position, keeping between 91 and 85 percent of the revenue from their mobile services. Scandinavia follows with 70-80 percent, while in most of the rest of Europe, mobile operators often keep around 50 percent of the revenue.
He recommended www.netsize.com for mobile user stats, regulations, etc., from multiple countries.
## Video & TV on mobile: hype or reality?
#Thomas Husson, Mobile Analyst, Jupiter Research, France
At the moment, music, video and TV offerings over mobile phones are customer acquisition tools, rather than revenue-generators, said Husson. The industry is still educating the users. Current services include live TV, video alerts, video downloads, user-generated content and made-for mobile, which is, for example, episodes of TV shows repurposed for transmission to mobile phones (also known as “mobisodes”).
Husson pointed out that, although some early trials have shown that users are willing to pay to have TV delivered to their mobile phones, the question is still, how many people are really going to pay, and for how many channels?
“The people participating in the trials were early adopters; there may be a dilution effect when mobile TV moves to the mainstream market,” he said. “Also, they were asked simply whether they would be prepared to pay, not how much. In addition, most of them already owned TV-enabled phones, so the technology was no obstacle.”
Business models for mobile TV still remain unclear. The three main issues are:
1. Advertising: new formats are being trialled.
2. Interactive services: how will end-users react?
3. Revenue sharing: there are many stakeholders and their respective role/risk is not yet clear.
“Media companies may see mobile video as a new media platform, whereas mobile operators see it more as a communication tool,” said Mr Husson. “I think the truth may lie somewhere in between, where it will become increasingly clear over the next few years.”
## Focus on Asia: Winning mobile consumers
# Takashi Ishioka, Director, Electronic Media & Broadcasting Division, Asahi Shimbun, Japan
Asahi Shimbun is arguably the most successful Japanese newspaper when it comes to its mobile strategy. The newspaper has a circulation of 12.8 million, but, like all Japanese papers, is being squeezed in a saturated market where young people don’t tend to read newspapers to the extent that their parents did.
“We saw that during the main part of the day, consumers are using media other than the newspaper, in particular the Internet and mobile phones,” he said.
Asahi Shimbun realised that they would have to educate potential users, mainly young people not reading newspapers, in what they can offer. To do so, the newspaper set up, for example, a sports service in cooperation with Nikkan, a specialised content provider. Forming alliances with strategic partners such as Nikkan was part of the strategy. Asahi Shimbun also kept subscription prices low to get new users to come on board.
Asahi Shimbun has gained 20,000 newspaper subscriptions via mobile phone services. “This is very important for us. And these are young readers, who were completely uninterested in the newspaper before.”
“Along with developing the new media services, it is also very important to make the necessary organisational changes in order to adapt the company to being an all-media company,” concluded Ishioka.
## Behind the scenes: enabling cost effective mobile services
# Meinolf Ellers, Managing Director, dpa-infocom GmbH, Germany
MINDS is a partnership between 40 German newspapers, set up about 12 months ago in response to the new media market. The MINDS platform (= Mobile information and news data services) is developed and operated by the news agency dpa. It’s a “plug-and-play” solution for mobile publishing for newspapers. By providing the platform as a joint B2B solution for newspapers, the agency and the papers can benefit from economics of scale.
“It makes sense to join forces and build alliances to meet the new challenges,” said Ellers. He mentioned a number of reasons why German newspapers are benefiting from being part of MINDS:
> Low market barriers (no initial investment, low cost of operation and innovation).
> Less complexity: Platform takes care of all aspects of technology, distribution, billing and contract matters with mobile operators.
> Economics of scale: shared cost and risk, strong position vis-à-vis MNOs, national mobile marketing and cross-media campaigns, sharing experiences, and the group becomes the innovation leader.
MINDS offers a broad variety of mobile service options, including news alerts, sports services, voting, generating test subscriptions, download of pictures and logos, do-it-yourself classified ads, etc.
Within MINDS, m-paper has recently been developed. This is a multimedia print format for mobile phones, based on Flash and Java, and it serves as a compact mobile evening edition of the newspaper, pushed automatically to subscribers. It can be read offline, and according to Ellers, it’s a predecessor to new paperless newspaper formats like E-ink.
The MINDS platform will be launched in Austria and Switzerland this year, and preparations are being made for other European and non-European countries.
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