Warning signs

I wrote yesterday about growth in the use of mobile devices to search the web. Although the formats and devices are in flux, there appears little doubt that we are moving to a “mobile-first” model for web use.

For the last three years, the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has tracked mobile trends among its members. In the most recent survey, published last November, ABC found that the majority (85%) of its members do provide mobile content. That’s good news.

The 15% who do not offer mobile content cite development and maintenance costs (79%) and staffing resources (57%) as their top two reasons. “Reader interest” (36%) was a distant (and debatable) third.

That’s bad news.

Getting ready for mobile is not cost-free, but using expense or staff resources as a justification is a very short-term tactic. It’s not necessary to build proprietary apps, and optimizing a web site for mobile need not be an enormous undertaking.

The greater concern isn’t that publishers think that mobile takes resources, but the judgement that it takes too much. We’ve passed the tipping point for the dissemination of digital content. Print isn’t dead, but print alone most certainly is.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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