Growth in the sale of smartphones and mobile devices is driving change

smartphoneTHUNDER BAY – TECH Talk – Growth in the sale of smartphones and mobile devices is driving change in how people access the Internet. Google is seeing the trend and is already changing the reporting process for Google Analytics. “More and more, visitors are using mobile devices to browse the web. Mobile reports in the new version of Google Analytics help you understand how mobile visitors are interacting with your site. You can even see which mobile devices your visitors use and optimize for those devices”.

On NetNewsledger.com over the past month 8.67% of our readers are accessing the site on their smartphones or mobile devices. It is a figure which has climbed drastically over the past year. It is also keeping pace with the sale of smart devices. That growth is also being reflected in changes for many media companies across North America. A year ago, that figure was about 2% and had been there for years. As Thunder Bay’s Tbaytel continues to improve and expand its 4G wireless service, that number has spiked and continues to do so. Heading into the Christmas season, the sales of smart devices will rise, and likely too the number of people who are connecting to them for their news, information and entertainment.

Likely one of the next steps that will happen is a technology shift away from paper and more toward electronic editions. The Center for Media Research in the United States reports, “Magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada are becoming more confident in their strategic mobile plans as they diversify their offerings and discover new ways to derive revenue. According to a new survey from the Audit Bureau of Circulations and ABC Interactive, ‘Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Maturing and Monetizing Their Offerings’, the number of publishers who say they have a well-developed plan for the mobile market rose to 59 percent, up from just 28 percent in 2009. And 67 percent said it was important to their strategic future to earn revenue from both ads and subscriptions.

“This is the third annual mobile survey from ABC and ABCi. The accumulated data provides a unique glimpse into the evolution of the mobile market from the perspective of print publishers who are hoping to capitalize on new platforms. The 2009 version of the survey provided a hint of publishers’ initial reactions to smartphones and the 2010 results indicated a growing preference for tablets. This year’s survey gives yet another update on publishers’ diverse array of consumer offerings and how they’re dealing with a fragmented device market and competition from other mobile content creators”.

“With three years of data to analyze, the ABC/ABCi mobile surveys offer a behind-the-scenes look into the workings of magazines and newspapers as they address the promises and challenges offered by the rise of the personal mobile device,” said Neal Lulofs, executive vice president and general manager, ABC Interactive. “This year’s survey results show the great strides publishers have made during the last two years and how they are preparing for a future where smartphones and tablets are a ubiquitous part of everyday life.”

What does it mean? First off, for Thunder Bay it should send a message that the technology shift is continuing. If more and more people are going to be getting their newspapers and magazines online, it should be sharing that the efforts to find new uses for our forests is going to be increasingly critical. Why? The CMR states, “Eighty-five percent of survey respondents said they currently have mobile content for smartphones, e-readers or tablet devices, up from 76 percent last year. Newspapers (88%) were most likely to have mobile initiatives in place, followed closely by consumer magazines (83%) and business publications (79%). Publishers cite development and maintenance costs as the primary reason they did not have a mobile presence. Many believe that e-readers and tablets will be the biggest boon to their business. Seventy-three percent said readers are most likely to consume their content on e-readers or tablets compared to 60 percent who said the same thing about smartphones. In Canada, the gap was even wider. Fifty-seven percent said e-readers and tablets had the brightest future compared to just 34 percent for smartphones.”

From a business perspective, the shift in technology is likely one that as more and more readers are gathered for online medium, advertising dollars will likely follow. It is all part of a rapidly growing market, that is maturing quickly. It also means, for businesses, that the incorporation of social media, QR codes, along with the traditional website are more critical than ever before. Likely too it means an investment in making sure that a website is smartphone friendly.

Perhaps what we are witnessing in this ongoing information revolution/evolution are the next steps forward into what was once considered a “Brave New World”. One thing for certain, it is going to be interesting.