Newspapers and the Mobile Imperative

The Associated Press put out a release summarizing data from a year of being on the iPhone and more broadly in mobile. Here are some of the numbers from the release:

  • 55 million local stories have been read on AP Mobile, www.apnews.com, since its May 2008 launch.
  • AP member participation has grown 887% with more than 1,000 trusted local sources choosing to distribute their news on AP Mobile -- compared to 107 AP member news organizations that signed up at the May 2008 launch

Demographics:

  • Age - 63% of AP Mobile users are in the coveted 18-34 age bracket.
  • Income - 53% of AP Mobile users earn more than $75,000 per year.
  • Gender - Men represent 78% of traffic to all subject areas, and 82% for sports.
  • Ethnicity - AP Mobile users include members of virtually all ethnic groups.
  • Education - More than half of AP Mobile users have bachelors or advanced degrees.
  • Employment - 80% of AP Mobile users are currently employed.

Usage:

  • On average, AP Mobile users spend 17 minutes per month interacting with AP mobile applications and apnews.com.
  • More than 50% of AP Mobile news accessed fall in the content category of Top Stories, followed by Local News (21%), Entertainment (9%) and Sports (7%).
  • iPhone and BlackBerry users both average 7 page views per visit to AP Mobile.
  • AP Mobile users access news consistently throughout the week - just as much, if not slightly more, during the first half of the week, including Sunday.

We wrote about the AP iPhone app when it launched (Verve Wireless provides infrastructure).

Steve Smith in his "Mobile Insider" column this week writes about newspaper and magazine opportunities to "re-establish" themselves in mobile:

[M]edia brands have a golden opportunity on mobile to reestablish some of the brand equity and loyalty they may have lost in the commoditized content environment of the Web.  There are aspects of mobile that actually replicate the disappearing print world very effectively. 

I agree and wrote something similar regarding newspapers in 2007:

Mobile now offers an opportunity for newspapers to get out in front of the market and establish the kinds of relationships with mobile consumers they probably wish they had done more proactively online . . . The analogy between the state of mobile and "the early days of the Internet" is a strong one, although there are some key differences. But getting out in front of mobile now gives newspapers a chance to rectify mistakes of the past.

In the past year most major news organizations have established themselves in mobile and even have iPhone apps in many cases.