Why Apps are Key for Modern Media Businesses

Mobile Phone in person's hand, with apps on screen, in front of laptop

In the last quarter-century, a lot has changed in media. As the internet became an intrinsic part of daily life, then (with the advent of smartphones) escaped the desktop, media consumer behaviour changed.

People who had previously read daily newspapers, subscribed to specialist magazines, or bought books, began to realise that they could get much of the same content for free, online - sometimes even from the same publishers.

At the same time, Google and Facebook reinvented the advertising industry, cementing their place in the mix - giving advertisers easy access to low cost, highly-targeted inventory - pulling advertisers away from print.

Many media businesses even went so far as to publish their content via platforms like YouTube, Facebook’s Instant Articles, and many others, in an attempt to build audiences - giving the duopoly even more dominance.

All sounds like doom-and-gloom, right? Yet, there is a growing optimism - media organisations are finding their feet again. In this blog, we’ll look at how they’re doing it, and how apps can form the backbone of modern media growth.

The Platform Agnostic Consumer

If you’re what younger media organisations refer to as a “legacy” media brand - perhaps what used to be known as a “newspaper”, or “magazine”, you’ll almost certainly have seen a steady decline in your print sales - for example, English newspaper The Sun has watched its print circulation drop by more than 2 million copies per day in the last decade. Fortunately however, their digital circulation is now 4.2m every day. That’s not ad impressions - that’s good old-fashioned people. And it’s 700,000 (20%) more of them than were reading the print edition at the end of the millennium.

So it seems the much maligned “legacy” media brands are as digital as all the others. They still know how to create content people want, and they’ve even got a print sales revenue stream that most of their digital-only cousins don’t. They’ve also got strength in their brands.

It’s tempting for people who work in “new” or “old” media to sneer at each other, but the truth is, the people reading your content simply don’t care. Put another way, you’d better be able to serve up the goods where and when they want them. This means Android and iOS apps, web, mobile web, print - even smart speakers!

Top Tip: Reverse Publishing

For the new generation of digital media organisations, selective high-quality print products, can offer a real point of differentiation. Although counterintuitive, the physical nature of print can give content real cut-through in a saturated world.

Quality Content

In this post-truth, home-publisher, micro-influencer reality that we now live in, people have begun to realise that they miss… facts. They miss properly-sourced news written by journalists, they miss quality video productions, put together by professionals. They miss expert opinions and carefully planned and constructed content. What’s more, they’re out there looking for it. 

Carefully curated content, delivered by credible media organisations, who have values, and stand behind what they publish, will win eyeballs.

An often overlooked, but key component of quality content is the way it’s presented. Just as type-setters would have agonised over the layout of daily newspapers, contemporary creators need to think about the devices that people use to consume their content. Mobile apps can be used to deliver familiar navigation, responsive layouts, and high quality imagery - they are an excellent way for content creators to offer comparable experiences to the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, et al - all of which are predominantly served up using mobile apps.

The Money

Of course, monetisation is an ever-pressing issue. For media organisations, this is one of the most important aspects to get right. 

As we’ve already touched on; over many years, consumers learned not to pay for media, so successful publishers strike a balance between free (usually ad-funded) content for audience growth, and tempting users with premium, paid-for content. When it comes to the latter, apps can deliver a step-up in content experience, along with premium features, such as support, offline viewing, integrated purchases, and more.

For publishers, customer lifetime value is heavily dependent on building loyalty, and deeper relationships with readers. As part of an integrated onboarding campaign, push notifications (enabled by apps) can offer an excellent way of building positive habits.

Top Tip

Users spend 2x longer in mobile apps than on the web, whilst the average number of sessions is 6 times higher. More time spent, and more sessions means more ad impressions!

Digital Transformation

The final piece of the puzzle for modern media businesses is operational. The process of taking raw content - images, text, video, audio - and turning it all into pixel-perfect user experiences with simplicity, speed, and precision.

What with the plethora of digital channels, media businesses can find themselves trying to orchestrate a jumble of software, process, and people to publish every piece of content. To overcome this requires a unified platform, which focuses on automation, and enables a “layout once, deploy everywhere” approach. 

This publishing workflow simplification represents basic diligence. Not doing so represents unnecessary cost and complexity - both cardinal sins of modern media organisations.

The App Imperative

So, to build or adapt a successful modern media business, you need to be delivering quality content to a platform agnostic consumer, who expects a top-quality experience. You’ll need to make sure you’re monetising that content effectively, whilst keeping costs to a minimum.

No doubt, this is easier said than done! Even for some of the most well-established media organisations in the world, this can represent a root and branch transformation. But the right tools can provide the springboard to transforming any organisation. Apps are a key part of that mix - an app supported publishing platform can go some way toward supporting all of those objectives.

To find out how leading publishers use Rakuten Aquafadas tools to streamline process, deploy mobile apps and deliver pixel-perfect content experiences, get in touch with us. Visit aquafadas.com to find out how our digital content publishing suite can help you produce more content with less.

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