Take chances or lose out, says mobile specialist

News organisations must take chances in adapting to the needs of mobile consumers or lose readership and potential revenue, according to mobile specialist David Murphy.

The editorial director and co-founder of Dot Media will be speaking next week at the Future Forum, an event hosted by The Newspaper Works.

The forum brings together an international line-up of speakers to discuss ways to influence a connected world.

Mr Murphy will speak alongside Mark Challinor in a session looking at how newspapers can better manage the transition from print to digital to mobile in all formats, including wearables and smart watches.

He will provide an editorial perspective on the situation, while Mr Challinor will look at the situation from a commercial point of view.

More and more consumers are moving to mobile, and publishers should not ignore this, said Mr Murphy.

“Consumers are spending more time on digital media, and more of their digital media time on mobile, so publishers have to accept it and start to develop or evolve a mobile-first offering,” he said.

Publishers should take advantage of the myriad opportunities currently available on mobile, and find ways to optimise the experience for users, according to Mr Murphy.

“In terms of using the mobile as a marketing channel, they can take the opportunities that exist to engage with readers through their apps, through push notifications and in-app messages,” he said.

“They can also think about making their content more mobile-friendly, rather than simply cutting and pasting the same content that goes on their website and in print onto mobile. One simple point, long headlines that work fine on the web are less good on mobile.

“They can also try to develop more mobile-specific ad offerings/units and encourage advertisers to create ads that tap into the phone’s capabilities (camera, GPS, calendar etc.).”

Mr Murphy would like to see more publishers taking chances with new mobile technology. “I like the long-established companies who have embraced mobile and connected tech to eat their own lunch before someone else does,” he said.

One good example is the Apple watch, he said. “I’m encouraged by the number of publishers who have released an app for the Apple Watch.

“The device may or may not the ‘the next big thing’ but if you want to lead your market, you have to take some bets on the technologies, platforms and devices that will succeed, and hope that you back more winners than losers. Otherwise you’re always playing catch-up.”

Dot Media was created as a by-product of Mobile Marketing Magazine, which was launched in November 2005 by Mr Murphy as an online news, analysis and advice portal.

As the editorial director, he decides the editorial position of the website, print and iPad magazines. “I launched this in 2005 as I was covering digital marketing as a freelance journalist, and could not see any dedicated title for mobile marketing,” he said.

“For the first four years, it was something of a labour of love until I got together with my Dot Media co-founder John Owen, who has some of the commercial skills I lack.

“From that point onwards, we were able to expand beyond the website into a print title, a successful awards program, and a number of different event formats.”

Every year in April, Mr Murphy and his team write an April Fool’s story about a fake gadget.

“On at least two occasions our nonsense story has turned into a real product within a year or two of writing it,” he said.

Mobile is a crazy industry to cover, said Mr Murphy, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. “There are still a lot of issues to be addressed,” he said.

“Equally, there are a lot of people who can see a lot of money to be made if they can address them, so there is never any shortage of people coming up with ideas. Some are good, some are bad, some a little mad, which is great fun to write about.”

The Future Forum will be held at the Hilton in Sydney on Thursday, September 10 and Friday, September 11.

The event will bring together newspaper media executives and delegates from around the world for masterclasses, a program of high-profile speakers including Sir Martin Sorrell, and industry awards.

Sir Martin will appear at the Future Forum via video link.

Click here to register.

For more news from The Newspaper Works, click here.

Leave a comment