M-publishing, a future for media owners…

Published 2nd June


Yesterday Camerjam events hosted another great mobile service focused conference. The event titled ‘M-publishing’ focused on the future of publishing in the mobile environment.

The event opened with a great key note from the effervesent Jonathan MacDonald. Below:

As you can imagine there was a lot of talk about applications, I don’t how many times the iPhone was mentioned (a lot). I sat on a panel talking about the iPad, a core question – would the iPad market change the publishing industry? 

In short NO – publishers are the ones that will/should change the industry not a device! Why? – relying on  traditional models will simply not work in mobile the business approach and mentality needs to change, and fast. I have previously written about: Real Reasons Why Traditional Media (& publishers) Can Really (Still) Win Big In Mobile. 

Following on from yesterday there were a lot of topics covered, different approaches spoken about; native applications, web applications, paywalls, freemium, advertising… there were also some areas that were not really addressed, context (service and advertising), hybrid applications, user retention…  I felt compelled to share some thoughts. 

My advice to media owners and publishers when progressing a mobile strategy:

First of all: Mobile is a proprietary environment that is emerging and fragmented – there are NO right answers! There are methods to approaching mobile that will enable you to build a sustainable foundation and trial elements that establish the right strategic approach for your business. Having defined, delivered and successfully taken to market mass audience services in three continents there are many challenges and barriers that organisations need to understand. There are some methods that you should not use to approach the market. (See: Mobile: Why Run before you Walk…).  Start point:


MOBILE is another channel but it has very different characteristics to fixed online

  • Reality of mobile – device is very personal, lifestyle orientated, user is paying (or percieves to be), no-one ever reads a manual, device is generally difficult to use (relatively poor interface)…
  • Consumers when mobile – typically want something, immediacy is often critical, relevance is key, pulling information is not an issue, actionable is a pre-requisite…

MOBILE = COMMUNICATION & SOCIAL (Both natural parts of our life)

  • Offer – unlikely we will find a new use for our mobiles so more than likely any service or product has to dovetail in to our existing habits and activities and offer value (or fun)  

PRESENCE = LOGICAL, RELEVANT & TRUSTABLE (The ’how’, ’why’ and ’what’ is so important) 

  • Why? – Why are you interesting in mobile and why is your offer relevant to a mobile user (not just because it is a big audience!) 
  • What? – What do you want a consumer to do as a result of interacting with your service
  • How? – A common mistake that many make is to focus on the device or platform – iPhone, Andriod and now iPad etc. – tactics come into play as you consider execution, not from the outset.

Thinking tactically is fine if you wish to progress a niche path into the market – or develop a showcase service. If you wish to establish as strategic foundation this can be fatal. Don’t get caught up in the hype and technology. (See: ‘iSyndrome’ – Why limit your slice of the pie?) 

ENGAGEMENT = ATTRACTIVE, FUNCTIONAL & EASY TO USE (Services have to offer utility and deliver results)

  • Features – Can add value or create barriers (i.e. some carriers/operators in the require applications to be individually signed if they use device features like PIM (contacts book) 
  • Retention – Roadmap and adding new features/funtionality is important otherwise users will not comeback (See: Flurry of stats paints shocking picture of Application loyalty)

DISCOVERY = ACCESSIBLE, COMPATIBLE & PERFORMANT (Steps simply represent barriers) 

  • Approaches – Re-directed, Leveraged, dedicated, unchartered, in-direct (each can play its role)

REPORTING = KNOWLEDGE, COMPARISON & EVOLUTION (Everything in mobile is potentially measureable) 

  • Metrics – distribution, in-service activity, campaign tracking

REVENUE = RELEVANT, INFLUENCING & ACTIONABLE (Everything should firstly deliver value)

Key is to understand limiting factors – potential barriers – from the outset develop a mobile approach that can be controlled by the individual organisation and built from a consistent foundation, not one reliant on or constrained by third parties.  Get as much out in the open from the start! Think about the market – not individual devices and platforms – think about the consumer and the offer.

At Indigo 102 we specialising in bringing out the realities – communicate the benefits and risks – at the early stages. We work with organisations to build mobile strategies that deliver value over time and develop services that are sustainable. If we can support you to invest wisely and establish a sustainable mobile platform get in touch (martin@indigo102.com).

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