News for Digital Journalists

Posts tagged with: Mobile

June 01, 2011

Mobile’s benefits not so easily won, media experts warn

It’s one thing to grasp mobile media’s massive potential, but another altogether to use it for effectively winning audience. That harsh lesson - worthy of note by journalism organizations looking to gain traction for their news products - was driven home by mobile marketing and technology experts in conversations and presentations at the May 24-26 Blogworld conference in New York.

Microsoft mobile marketing exec Barbara Williams, for instance, told May 24 attendees that while numerous organizations have launched mobile marketing campaigns, few are hitting home runs. “It comes down to experience and expertise,” she explained. Shortfalls in organization skills are of most common - among them, Williams suggested, were internal organizational silos that prevented an enterprise-wide approach, a lack of understanding of mobile’s potential by key executives, the inability to demonstrate return on investment,  and a reluctance to move funds from more tried-and-true approaches.

April Ward, a digital marketing executive with General Electric, also pointed out the weak link for organizations is not necessarily budget, but knowledge. She detailed a case study of a GE mobile project that became a reality after she was able to show concretely how many users were already coming to GE web sites via iPad and iPhone, as well as to illustrate how GE outlets might have been lagging competitors with apps.

The form in which organizations go mobile is critical to consider as well, whether via an app on a mobile device, or simply a mobile version of an existing web site.

Mobile app software developer Burton Miller advised that while mobile apps can certainly grow traffic for sites, pay apps have proven difficult for bloggers and news sites to profit from - industry data shows that just 10 percent of the adults using mobile apps for local news and information were willing to pay for them. A failed pay app could prove expensive, given that he said apps can cost upwards of $20,000-$50,000 to develop.

Miller suggested free, ad-supported mobile apps might be a smarter strategy for most organizations. While paid apps bring revenue just once, no matter how often or long consumers use them, he argued news provides a persistent product that could gain user fees repeatedly via ads.

And despite growing pains for the mobile ad industry, Miller said he sees ad revenue growing, with larger brands stepping up with mobile budgets, and mobile agencies like admarvel and pubmatic cropping up to help outlets navigate mobile ad minefields - for a cut.

The potential to tie mobile to burgeoning social networks is especially attractive, expert panelists agreed. Social networking is the fastest growing mobile category, pointed out Michael Burke of appssavvy . And Viktor Marohnic of app developer shoutem, which developed the food blogger app YoungandFoodish and community app WeHarlem, suggested that social networking features are among the “stickiest” app features, along with on-demand and real-time features like news.

The key, argued Burke, is to uncover what people do with their mobile devices: “If you understand what people are doing, it’s very simple - just become a part of that.” Added Miller: “The news industry doesn’t want to be left behind, because readers care - they’re going to the phone.”

For more information on mobile at BlogWorld, integrated into the conference for the first time with 10 separate sessions featuring dozens of speakers, check out the full track of mobile panels on the BlogWorld site.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

July 06, 2011

Page One: New book explores future of journalism

A new compilation of essays about the future of journalism has just been published. See Page One: Inside The New York Times and the Future of Journalism, by NPR’s David Folkenflik. This book includes an essay by Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen listing several surprises that Knight encountered in its many programs to foster the future of news and community information…

Ibargüen’s full essay, Investing in the future of news, is available online. Here are a few highlights:

About the Knight News Challenge: “An amazing number of entries were appealing but ignored the geographic community focus of the contest. ...Our interest was in informing communities so they might determine their best interests, so we wanted to focus on ways to bend the World Wide Web to local use. It turned out to be harder than we first thought.”

Where’s the legacy media? “One of the biggest surprises has been the disappointing lack of interest and engagement displayed by newsrooms in legacy media outlets. NPR is an exception, as is American Public Media. We gave funds to aid APM’s Public Insight Network, which sought to establish a much wider range of expert voices in radio broadcasting.”

Contributed content is not enough. “Another lesson also became clear: disappointment awaits those media outlets that hope to rely on user-generated content to reproduce the scale and broad-based geographic coverage of traditional newspapers. At a very local level, it has proved too much to expect people with busy lives to contribute consequentially and consistently to citizen journalism or crowdsourcing projects.”

How can the crowd contribute? “Truthfully, few new ideas have surfaced which meaningfully include the reader in the news process. This seems ironic in a world where Wikipedia and blogs have become commonplace reference sources. Promising ideas and innovations predicated on audience engagement have not been adopted by traditional media. One such is Spot.us, which allows the audience to decide which story pitches to green-light by virtue of their financial contributions, leaving the reporting and editing to others. The financial backing is totally transparent but few news organizations have even tried it, though the innovation itself is available for free.”

Mobile represents a huge shift. “Mobile could be a kind of reset button for the industry, representing yet another seismic disruption -or another golden opportunity. ... We believe that finding new and effective ways to deliver content on mobile devices deserves the most serious attention. It surely isn’t a coincidence that Google is promoting Android and that the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the owner of a significant percentage of the telephone access in the hemisphere, is also a major investor in The New York Times.”

Ask the right questions: “The questions facing anyone interested in informing communities should be familiar. It boils down to something eminently simple but deceptively hard to execute: how do we inform people to encourage engagement in their community? There is no easy route to success in this emerging digital space. But I think, taken together, these questions hold the key:

  • Why do people need the information you provide?
  • Do you provide utility?
  • Do the things you cover matter to the community?
  • What is your point of view and how will you reflect it?
  • Where and how do people want the information?
  • How will you engage the audience?

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

July 11, 2011

Smartphones: Who’s getting them, how are they using them? Pew report

Here’s one more reason for news organizations to focus on their mobile web sites: according to a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, one fourth of U.S. smartphone owners use their phone for most of their online browsing…

On smartphones, users can often access similar content via a publisher’s web site and via platform-specific apps. However, the Pew report did not refer to apps as a channel for “online browsing,” so that statistic probably refers just to mobile web access via smartphones, not app use.

Pew also estimated that 35% of US adults currently own a smartphone—similar to comScore’s latest estimate that 33% of Americans 13 and over own a smartphone.

Pew also noted that 83% of US adults own a cell phone of any kind—which means that simpler, cheaper feature phones still are the most popular type of mobile device, used by about half of U.S. adults.

Other highlights from Pew’s smartphone report:

  • Affluence. 59% of U.S. adults from households earning $75,000/year or more own smartphones; but only 22% of people with household annual income under $30,000 own smartphones.
  • Education. 48% of U.S. adults with a college degree own smartphones, compared to 18% of people with no high school diploma.
  • Gender. 39% of smartphone owners are male; 31% female.
  • Age. “Smartphone ownership is highest among Americans in their mid-twenties through mid-thirties, as fully 58% of 25-34 year olds own a smartphone.”
  • Ethnicity. 44% each of African Americans and Latinos own smartphones; compared to only 30% of whites.


Pew offered more insight on mobile internet access:

“Even among smartphone owners who use their phone as their main source of internet access, computer (i.e. laptop or desktop) ownership is quite prevalent. Indeed, fully 84% of these individuals also have a desktop or laptop computer at home.

“At the same time, a notably smaller number have access to high-speed internet service, as just over two-thirds of these users (68%) have broadband at home. This is slightly above the national broadband average (61% of all adults are broadband adopters), but still means that 32% of these ‘cell mostly’ internet users lack traditional high-speed home access—even though they may go online from other locations outside of the home.

“...Usage of smartphones as a primary internet access device is highest among several groups with relatively low rates of traditional internet and broadband adoption—for example, those with no college experience as well as those with relatively low income levels.”

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

July 29, 2011

New mobile media toolkit from MobileActive

This week, the nonprofit group MobileActive launched its Mobile Media Toolkit—a great guide for anyone (including journalists) who want to learn how to create media using cell phones, or that works well on mobile devices…

This resource offers tips on tools and techniques, as well as case studies of projects from around the world that have used cell phones for journalism, broadcasting, and citizen media—on a variety of platforms and in a variety of circumstances. This project is funded by a 2009 Knight News Challenge award.

The guide is divided into sections for professional journalists, citizen journalists, media development organizations (groups that foster the development of free and independent media) and news organizations and other content publishers.

Although it’s not listed under the resources for professional journalists, don’t miss the guide to mobile security for citizen journalists—especially if you work with sensitive sources or topics, or are otherwise concerned about surveillance.

While this resource offers a lot of great information about smartphones, it also covers opportunities presented by feature phones (which still comprise the vast majority of phones currently in use in the US and elsewhere). For instance, there are tips on how to set up an SMS text messaging system, and how to do mobile polling.

Several of the cross-links between pages in this guide currently aren’t working. If you encounter one, search for the topic in the site search engine and you’ll probably find it.

Although this content is available on the web, it’s a great example of the kind of content that could—and should—be published as an e-book or as an app.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

September 06, 2011

Geotagging: Pew research shows why news orgs should do a better job with it

“Where” is crucial context for mobile media—and for news. New research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicates that a significant and growing portion of U.S. cell phone users are using the built-in GPS to take better advantage of mobile services and content…

According to Pew:

  • “28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location. That works out to 23% of all adults.” (This includes 55% of smartphone owners.)
  • “A much smaller number (5% of cell owners, equaling 4% of all adults) use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla.” (12% of smartphone owners do this.)
  • “9% of internet users set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services. That works out to 7% of all adults.”

Continuing a trend revealed in their earlier mobile research, Pew found that Latinos are leading in U.S. adoption of location-based services. Specifically, while only 7% of U.S. white smartphone users use geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla, 25% of Latinos and 17% of blacks who own smartphones do so.

Bucking this trend, white smartphone owners are in the lead (59%) in terms of getting location-based directions and recommendations—followed by 53% of blacks and 44% of Latinos.

Is your CMS geodata-friendly? So far, most news organizations have done little to upgrade their content management system to systematically and consistently geotag every piece of content—either with a latitude/longitude point, or by a polygon defined by a set of such points.

Offering this kind of geodata is the key to integrating your content with popular geo services, from mapping to Yelp to social media and more—and even to search, which is increasingly personalized based on location and other user-specific context.

Mentioning place names as text in a dateline, headline, category/tag, or story body generally is not sufficient for locative services to integrate your content.

So now is the time to make your CMS geodata-friendly, and to train all your editorial and production staff in how to correctly geotag every piece of content you publish. This upgrade will position you to more easily capitalize on opportunities offered by whatever location-augmented services exist now and in the future.

Reporters, editors, and ad staff should be using locative media. This will help you understand opportunities to integrate content into locative services, identify potential partners and prospects, and more. It’s also a great tool for finding or fleshing out stories.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

September 20, 2011

AP launches iCircular weekly ad service for mobile news sites

Although many journalists hate to admit it, advertising circulars are a big reason why many people buy newspapers. This week the AP stepped beyond its core content mission to debut a new service that delivers weekly circular-style digital ads from top national consumer brands to the mobile presences of 40 partner newspaper…

According to an AP press release, the new iCircular service is a “mobile advertising service that appears under a ‘deals’ section on each of these newspapers’ apps and mobile sites.”

Initially, the service features weekly ads for 20 national retailers such as Kohl’s and Kmart.

The service is at least nominally localized and personalized. AP says the iCircular “automatically delivers geo-located deals and special offers nearest to the consumer. For smartphone users, iCircular also provides tools to create shopping lists, to connect to social media and to store loyalty card information.”

Such ad delivery services may be a good idea for newspapers, since—as U.K. researchers noted at a recent journalism conference, most newspapers are messing up their mobile strategies by failing to consider the business model and consumer value proposition in that environment.

The AP release did not disclose how revenues for iCircular mobile ads are handled.

For all partner papers, iCircular is integrated as a section within their mobile web site—a smart place to start if you want to reach the largest possible mobile audience, since feature phones still outnumber smartphones two to one, and since many feature phones and BlackBerry devices include web browsers. Some papers also are offering iCircular within their iPhone or Android apps.

It appears that some bugs may need to be worked out, both with how the service works on mobile phones and how its value is communicated to users.

On the technical side, I tested the San Francisco Chronicle’s mobile web implementation of iCircular. It had difficulty accepting my location data, and also generated an error when I tried to get information on local specials from Macy’s. But technical bugs can generally be solved.

Perhaps the larger challenge is that right now mobile visitors to a participating news site simply see a section heading called “iCircular” somewhere near the middle or bottom of the mobile news site’s home page. How are they supposed to know what this is? It might make more sense to label this “weekly coupons” or something similarly intuitive to consumers.

Also, clicking that section link in your mobile web browser yields a page that lists store brand names and logos, but no immediate examples of the kind of deals on offer that week. This might make it difficult for consumers to decide which store to check out first—and anything that makes clicking decisions harder means more mobile users are likely to give up.

Of course, this project is just beginning its pilot phase, so bugs are to be expected. It’ll be interesting to see this effort develop—and which other mobile advertising solutions emerge for newspaper sites and apps.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

October 14, 2011

Fuego: New mobile tool to follow the future of journalism, anywhere

Lots of smart people are always discussing the future of journalism and media on Twitter—but knowing which of those conversations are most important at any given time can mean spending your whole day on Twitter.

To help solve this problem, today the Nieman Journalism Lab debuted a mobile-friendly version of its Fuego tool…

According to Nieman Lab director Joshua Benton, Fuego for Mobile is a “heat-seeking Twitter bot, our tool that amalgamates the best and most interesting stories the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about on Twitter and presents them to you for quick reading.”

On a mobile phone, the result looks a little bit like Storify, the popular social media content curation tool. But there are some key differences:

  • Fuego displays a running list of the current most popular or important Twitter conversations about the future of news (rather than tracking the progress of a single story).
  • Fuego’s curation is done algorithmically, rather than manually—which requires far less work than Storify or manual retweeting.

How did Nieman Lab do it? In an interview, Benton explained that Fuego combines the Twitter application programming interface (API) with some custom algorithms to select and weight tweets, plus tools to deliver the results through a user-friendly mobile interface. It was created in-house at Nieman Lab by Benton and write/coder Andrew Phelps.

“The people who talk about the future of journalism on Twitter tend to be a pretty self-referential and insular crowd—and for creating an automated curation tool, that’s actually a very good thing,” said Benton.

“In the abstract, this concept could be applied to other topic areas. We experimented with that. But we found that if the people you’re aggregating tend to tweet about a lot of different topics, if they aren’t as focused, that it doesn’t tend to work as well for this kind of automated curation.”

That said, he acknowledged that it might work well for other niche or vertical topics—such as coverage of specific industries.

Initially Nieman Lab seeded Fuego with about 10 Twitter users who are thought leaders on the future of journalism and who tend to tweet pretty consistently about that topic. From there, Fuego started scanning tweets from everyone those users follow on Twitter—yielding an aggregate set of about 7000 Twitter users.

Since Fuego focuses on links, the system filters out tweets that don’t contain links. Among the remaining tweets, it algorithmically weights results to determine what gets listed via the Fuego interface. For instance, tweets by people who are followed by two or more people in the initial “seed set” of 10 are weighted more heavily; as are more recent tweets.

Based on these computations, Fuego displays right at the top of the page the top three current topics or stories; additional popular or relevant topics are listed below that. This list is refreshed frequently.

Nieman Lab also has a special Twitter account, @NiemanLabFuego, which automatically posts a tweet whenever a new item gets added to Fuego’s top three stories.

The technology used to deliver Fuego to mobile devices is interesting. It’s a mobile web app—which means it functions rather like a mobile app, but users don’t have to download and install anything. Just click the Fuego for mobile link from your phone or tablet and it will immediately launch.

Developing mobile web apps is generally more efficient and less costly than developing native apps for specific mobile platforms. The same code base serves multiple mobile platforms and device types. In contrast, native mobile apps require developing and maintaining a separate version for each platform (iPhone, Android, Mango, etc.).

On most smartphones and tablets, users can save a bookmark for a web app on their homescreen, to provide easy launching similar to that of native apps. On the iPhone and iPad, users can also launch homescreen web apps without all the trappings of the mobile Safari web browser, so you save screen real estate by now displaying the location bar, etc.

Simpler mobile web apps (including Fuego) that don’t require animation or much interactivity will even run on many feature phones—if they have better browser like Opera Mini. You can also save mobile Fuego (or any other web site or app) to Opera Mini’s home screen for a similar easy-launch capability.

Fuego was originally introduced on the Nieman Lab’s website in August as part of their redesign, but the mobile version was just rolled out today. The full web version offers three time-based filters: past four hours, past 24 hours, and past week. So far, those filters are not yet available on the mobile version.

Benton noted that eventually Nieman Lab will probably make its Fuego codebase available, but for now it’s so customized it probably wouldn’t be very useful for other organizations or purposes. They’ll also update the Nieman Lab iPhone app to include Fuego. He notes that for iPhone users, it helps to have your apps in Apple’s app store since iPhone users are trained to look there first rather than seek out web apps.

Still, going the web app route is useful to reach a broader audience—especially crucial since Android now far outsells iPhone in new smartphone sales, and WindowsPhone Mango may become a strong contender in coming years.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

November 02, 2011

Downloading mobile apps is popular; using them less so, says Pew

Half of adult U.S. mobile users now have apps on their cell phones. However, only half of these people actually use their apps on a regular basis—and nearly one fifth never use the apps they have at all. This is according to a new Pew study on phone and tablet apps, which holds clear implications for mobile news strategies…

“Having apps and using apps are not synonymous,” the report cautions.

Virtually all smartphones and most feature phones now come with at least some basic apps preinstalled (especially for weather, games, etc.). Indeed, at the time Pew did its research, only about one third of mobile handsets in use in the U.S. were smartphones—which means that a significant portion of apps are installed on feature phones.

What about tablets? Pew noted: “Among adults who have a tablet computer, 39% report using six or more apps on a weekly basis, while just 8% report using no apps regularly on the device.”

As of August 2011, 38% of all U.S. adult cell phone owners reported that they had downloaded apps to their phones—double the figure from a year earlier.

Downloading apps remains primarily an activity of those who are younger, more privileged (higher incomes and education levels), and who live in or near cities.

News is part of the category most popular with phone app downloaders. Over three quarters of app downloaders report downloaded apps that provide “regular updates on news, weather, sports or stocks.”

Still, this does not mean that news apps get used particularly often. Pew cited recent app research from Nielsen: “According to Nielsen’s quarterly Mobile Insights Survey, games continue to be the most popular apps in terms of use in the 30 days prior to the survey. In the second quarter of 2011, Nielsen reported that 64% of app downloaders in their survey had used a game app in the prior 30 days. Next most widely used were weather apps (60%), followed by social networking (56%), maps/navigation/search (51%), music (44%) and news (39%).”

Getting consumers to pay for apps presents a mixed picture. According to Pew, just under half of U.S. adults who download apps (about 16% of all adults) report having paid for an app at some point. Half of people who have purchased apps report that the most they’ve ever paid has been $5. But 17% have paid more than $20 for an app. Urban dwellers, college graduates, people from households earning at least $50,000 per year, men, and those aged 30 or over are especially likely to pay for apps.

Pew asked about mobile internet use—which mostly means mobile web access. Even though a mobile web browser is technically an app, consumers often view it as a different type of activity. Currently nearly half (48%) of adult U.S. cell phone owners access the internet from their phones—significantly more than the 38% who have downloaded apps.

A mobile-friendly web site is accessible to a broader mobile audience, which makes it a stronger base for a news organization’s overall mobile strategy—compared to native apps for smartphones and tablets, which are platform-dependent.

If you do develop smartphone or tablet apps, consider focusing on specific demographics or audience needs, rather than simply repackaging all of your content (“shovelware”). Pew’s research shows that apps are more popular with certain types of people, and for certain types of activities. Apps that allow people to do things they already enjoy doing, rather than simply absorbing content, stand a better chance of getting used more often.

Remember that downloads are not the best measurement of app success—usage is.

Perhaps the best way to ensure mobile success is to understand the composition, preferences, and constraints of your news org’s potential mobile market. Pew’s app research was national in scope, but mobile market characteristics vary considerably by geography. That’s why it’s a good idea to do your own local mobile market research.

But be careful about how you ask about app usage. Many mobile users aren’t really clear on the “app” concept.

Kristen Purcell, Pew’s associate director of research, explained: “There is some confusion among segments of adults about what an app is and whether their phone has any apps. We have found that virtually all adults know if they have ever downloaded an app or not. But 10% of cell owners answer “don’t know” when asked if their phone came equipped with apps. This is even higher (15%) among cell phone owners age 50 and older.”

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

December 06, 2011

NAA: Mobile traffic to news venues up 65% since last year

According to the Newspaper Association of America, mobile pageviews for news websites and apps are up 65% compared to a year ago…

“Many newspapers reported triple-digit page view increases to their mobile sites and apps,” said the NAA announcement. “NAA’s analysis is based on traffic figures for more than 20 newspaper media companies—large and small, public and private—that supplied year-over-year internal measurements of mobile page view traffic and unique visitors from September 2010 and September 2011. Unique visitor count increases ranged as high as 200%, with an average increase of about 70% for the publishers reporting.” 

The trouble with measuring the growth of mobile news audiences is that—especially for mobile apps, but sometimes also for dynamic or HTML5 mobile websites—the concept of a “pageview” can be rather nebulous and thus complex to gauge.

Also, this study did not take into account mobile traffic or engagement that happens via the social media presences maintained by news organizations.

Randy Bennett, NAA’s senior VP for business development, acknowledged that in this research NAA asked only for total metrics across websites and apps. “We understand that there are some inconsistencies in how news organizations report that data,” he said. “We didn’t attempt to track or separate out apps vs. sites.”

While this research did not uniformly gather data to compare mobile traffic to overall traffic, Bennett noted: “Anecdotally, some news organizations reported that 7-12% of traffic is now coming from mobile.”

NAA will be discussing mobile news traffic and trends in more detail in its upcoming benchmarking study, which is due out in early 2012. “We’ll have data from individual newspapers to get more detail one usage for different mobile device types and platforms,” said Bennett.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

January 23, 2012

Tablet/e-reader ownership doubles over holiday gift season, says Pew

More of the U.S. media audience is going mobile, fast—as indicated in the dramatic spike in ownership of media-focused mobile devices over the recent holiday gift season. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found now nearly 30% of U.S. adults now owns either a tablet computer or e-reader device…

According to a new Pew report: “The share of U.S. adults who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January and the same surge in growth also applied to e-book readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same time period. ...The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.”

What caused this shift? The introduction of smaller, cheaper tablets such as the Kindle Fire. Although these devices are marketed as e-readers, they actually are modified Android tablets capable of browsing the web, doing e-mail, running apps and more—even though these devices have less functionality than an iPad, and the Kindle Fire in particular is comparatively more clunky to use. Pew’s data considered the Kindle Fire and Nook Color as tablets, rather than e-readers.

Meanwhile, the price of many simpler e-readers (those with e-ink screens and very limited online access, such as the basic Kindle or the Nook Touch) has fallen well below $100. In fact, the New York Times recently started giving away the Nook Touch for free to readers who purchase a $20/month Nook subscription to the Times.

Who’s using tablets more? Pew found a surge in ownership of tablet computers among college graduates and people from wealthier households (annual income over $75,000). “Additionally, those under age 50 saw a particularly significant leap in tablet ownership.”

For simpler e-readers, Pew found different patterns: “Ownership of e-readers among women grew more than among men. Those with more education and higher incomes also lead the pack when it comes to e-book ownership, but the gap between them and others isn’t as dramatic. For instance, 19% of those in households earning $30,000- $50,000 have e-book readers. They are 12% behind those in households earning $75,000 or more in e-book reader ownership. The gap between those income levels on tablet ownership is 20%.”

What does this mean for news publishers? News organizations, entrepreneurial journalists, and other publishers should recognize that e-books are now a bigger market than ever. So 2012 would be a good time to start repackaging your content (or creating spinoffs) in e-book form. See Online Journalism Review’s recent journalist’s guide to e-book publishing for advice on understanding this market and getting started.

Also, when crafting your overall mobile strategy, take the form factor, opportunities, and constraints of smaller tablets into account. Your responsive web design, mobile themes, or app design should should accommodate the Kindle Fire and Nook Color as core use cases. Also make your mobile apps available through Amazon’s app store and the Nook Color app store. Those devices don’t access the full Android Market.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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