Mobile Media: News about mobile & its applications & implications for media. Written by Jeff Sonderman with contributions from Regina McCombs. Suggest a story.

Economist launches a daily edition for your phone

The Economist | The Guardian

The Economist launched a new product on Thursday, The Economist Espresso, that’s a daily weekday mobile edition of the magazine. The Economist, which is a weekly, announced the new product on Thursday.

“It distills what’s important from the news, giving you a concentrated shot of global analysis that can be consumed quickly as part of your morning routine.” Here’s the full video:


Mark Sweney wrote about Espresso for The Guardian on Thursday, noting in the subhead that it “will be 171-year-old weekly magazine’s first daily edition.” It’s free to digital subscriber and $3.99 a month otherwise, he reported.

Chris Stibbs, chief executive of the Economist, said the new product opens up a market of potentially 200 million online readers.

“There is a huge market out there we couldn’t get to in print that we can potentially reach now,” he said.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

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As mobile ad revenue continues to soar, newspapers still struggle to catch the wave

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There was a double dose of good news in eMarketer’s mid-year ad forecast released today. Ad spending will grow more than 5 percent in 2014 for the first time in 10 years. And the mobile ad boom shows no sign of plateauing with 83 percent growth over 2013 expected.

Digital giants like Facebook and Google continue to dominate the category (together more than 50 percent), while newspapers and magazine struggle to offer competitive ad buys on their mobile products.

The Newspaper Association of America’s revenue report for 2013, released in April, found that mobile advertising had grown 77 percent for the year but still accounted for less than 1 percent of total revenue.  By contrast, as Facebook reported its first quarter earnings the same month, it said mobile had grown to 59 percent of its total ad revenue.

A newspaper publisher friend summarized the state of play in his industry this way — “2013 will be remembered as the year when mobile went from infinitesimal to insignificant.”

Doing better in 2014 remains a high priority for many newspapers, but more bumps in an already bumpy road are foreseeable. Read more

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

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How small screens impact photojournalism — and tips for adapting

On Sunday morning, before I got out of bed, I started reading a story from The New York Times on my phone. I found it via Twitter, naturally, and enjoyed Freda Moon’s account of a journey from Chicago to New Orleans aboard a vintage Pullman sleeper car.

But halfway through the story, I realized I had scrolled past thumbnail images without giving them any thought (see screenshot at the right). Each photo — smaller than a postage stamp — failed to grab my attention until I recognized the name of the photographer, an intern at the Chicago Sun-Times when I worked there.

That’s when I decided to go outside, pull my copy of the print Times out of its blue plastic bag, and check out the photos at a size I might be able to appreciate.

It made a big difference:

For the most part, I can appreciate text no matter where I read it. Read more

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

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Quantcast: Social drives 34 percent of mobile Web traffic, 17 percent of desktop traffic

Quantcast

Nearly 4 in 5 news and entertainment sites are optimized for mobile devices, according to a new report by Web analytics firm Quantcast. And those sites see an average of 33 percent of their overall traffic come from mobile devices, while sites that aren’t mobile-optimized see an average of 28 percent of traffic from mobile.

That correlation could have big implications for social media strategy, too, as Quantcast found that social accounted for 34 percent of mobile referrals, twice as much as social accounted for on desktop. Read more

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Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2014

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News in motion: six ways to be a good mobile editor

So you want to be a mobile editor?

Or maybe you just got the gig. Congratulations! Now what?

I’ve heard that question a lot lately from newly minted mobile editors at organizations big and small. It’s not that surprising. Mobile has been the coming future of news and information for a long time, but many news outlets only woke up to its importance in the last year.

Why? That’s easy: 50 percent. Last year, many news organizations either hit or approached the 50 percent mark in digital traffic coming from mobile. That opened many eyes. It became very clear that mobile isn’t coming — it’s here. It’s been here. Mobile is now. And news organizations need mobile editors more than ever (read on for Six Ways To Be A Good Mobile Editor).

I became The Wall Street Journal’s first — and, at the time, only — mobile editor in 2009. Mobile was different then. Read more

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Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014

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Bloomberg View: latest mobile-first site to embrace the grid, shun visual hierarchy

Bloomberg View, no longer just an opinion vertical at bloomberg.com, has launched a standalone, image-heavy website, which publisher Tim O’Brien told Capital New York is “a departure for Bloomberg.”

But the startling new emphasis on visuals borders on overkill. Here’s how Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton put it:

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Friday, Feb. 21, 2014

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Facebook bets on big future for ‘dark social’ sharing with WhatsApp acquisition

If Facebook wants to maintain its dominance over our social lives online, its acquisition of hot messenger platform WhatsApp indicates it could do so without becoming the hellish, share-everything-with-everyone company from Dave Eggers’ “The Circle.”

With WhatsApp, Facebook now offers a significant dark social product — a way for users to share content with small groups of people away from the spotlight of a public social network. While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the term “open” eight times in a letter defining the company for its IPO, he’s clearly also interested in the growing market for more closed-off forms of communication — from private platforms like WeChat and Kik to very, very private platforms like Whisper and Secret.

Zuckerberg again used the term “open” in a statement about the WhatsApp acquisition but also emphasized that sharing can take many forms:

Our mission is to make the world more open and connected.

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Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014

Quartz on an iPad

Does it matter that mobile-native Quartz has a mobile-minority audience?

As much as mobile is poised to keep growing in 2014, old desktop habits die hard — especially during business hours. That leaves Quartz, Atlantic Media’s 18-month-old business site, with a fascinating hand after going all-in on mobile.

Despite its birth to founders intent on nurturing its appeal to smartphone and tablet users, Quartz finds that almost 60 percent of its visitors still read it on the plain old desktop computer.

A year ago, around 30 percent of its unique visitors arrived at fast-growing Quartz on mobile devices; its latest three-month average stood at 41 percent. So while mobile is gaining ground, I was surprised to learn that mobile-first and mobile-native Quartz has been and remains a big deal on desktop. It doesn’t take a futurist to predict that desktops will soon cede their majority standing, but if you treat smartphones and tablets as their own categories, Quartz will likely see its desktop plurality endure for a bit longer. Read more

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Tuesday, Feb. 04, 2014

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3 ways Facebook’s Paper app outperforms other news aggregators (and 3 ways it doesn’t)

Paper, the first app from Facebook’s Creative Labs available now for iPhones, could challenge Flipboard, Zite and Feedly in the business of aggregating news on mobile devices. Not only does it beautify your Facebook newsfeed, but it also links to content from major news sources in various sections like Headlines (news), Score (sports), Exposure (photos) and Planet (science and sustainability). Here are some reasons Paper might be the news reader for you (or not):

Pictures feel bigger (but not always better)

Almost all screens, from movie theaters to TVs to computers to tablets, are horizontal for a reason (tablet users seem to prefer the landscape orientation to portrait, but of course it’s used both ways). So it’s often frustrating to view our horizontal world through the tiny vertical window of a phone. Pinch-to-zoom works OK for seeing more detail, but the multitouch gesture is a little cumbersome and, of course, zooming makes it impossible to see the entire image at once. Read more

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Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014

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Has ‘curate’ replaced ‘aggregate’ as the default term for summarizing other people’s news?

While exploring the new Inside.com app, which collects content from a variety of news organizations and summarizes stories in a maximum of 300 characters, I wasn’t surprised to see the term “curators” in its App Store description.

But I was a little surprised to see the term regurgitated without question in so many news stories about Inside — at Time, at TechCrunch, at Capital New York, at the Next Web, at CNET.

Curation’s a lofty term for summarizing other journalists’ reporting — even for high-level summarizing from multiple sources, which doesn’t seem to be Inside’s M.O. So let’s call it what it is, even if the term comes with some baggage: aggregation. Read more

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