Space Needle in Seahawks colors
Before everyone instinctively turns them off
The second disruption for news organizations is taking shape quickly, according to new data that illustrates the poor performance of news apps in 2013. A new study by Flurry (above) discovered that news and magazine apps were among the slowest to grow (+31% in user sessions) compared to the app average (+115%) and dreadfully behind the explosion of social media apps (+203%).
Separately, a Pew study released in November illustrated a growing population of users who get their news from social media. For example, 30% of Americans get news on Facebook, and 78% of Facebook’s daily active users are visiting from their mobile devices — nearly all of those from the Facebook app.
Apps continue to overwhelm the mobile web and are poised to surpass the desktop, too. Analyst Ian Maude tweeted a graph (above) — using Comscore data — that projects that time spent in mobile apps is “set to overtake desktop usage by year end.”
We’re in the throes of the fastest shift in news consumption in history. For news organizations desperate for distribution, under-performing on the fastest-growing and soon to be dominate distribution platform is not an option. However, a new report from Forrester Research found that many media companies and retailers are under-spending when it comes to investing in mobile: half are spending under $1 million a year.
Mobile apps are difficult and costly, and they demand investment and reinvention across the entire organization. The landscape will only grow more competitive with personalization and precisely-targeted advertising leading the way. For media companies hoping for a magical, inexpensive, third-party solution to save the day — or the sudden collapse of mobile apps — there’s a rude awakening right around the corner.
"Like a hanging, mobile focuses the mind," writes Lewis Dvorkan, chief product officer of Forbes Media. “I often say the $2 to $3 CPMs publishers frequently get for smartphone ads will crush all traditional newsrooms built for the era of $50 print CPMs — and most of them still are, whether they admit it or not.”
(I work at Breaking News, a mobile startup owned by NBC News).
In the news business, weekends have always been a bit of an afterthought. But in the world of mobile, Saturdays and Sundays are taking on new significance.