Writing about the popularity of mobile news and the New York Times‘ iPhone app, Nieman Journalism Lab’s Martin Langeveld suggests that ad sales don’t have to be the only source of revenue for newspapers:
One implication of the small screen, when it comes to news: we may be less inclined to work hard for news by searching, surfing and visiting aggregators, and more inclined to let the news come to us, by whatever means. The challenge, then, for publishers, may be to create apps that deliver custom-tailored news to fit preferences and interests of phone users.
Perhaps the figures Langeveld provides will be the nudge newspaper execs need to focus less on setting up pay walls and more on providing their readers with the kind of value they want, and building revenue streams upon that.
It would appear some are doing just that. Editor & Publisher reports that the new iPhone operating system will give publishers the tools they need for specialized content delivery and advertising:
The new technology has the ability to deliver user-location information at the browser level. For example, when a user accesses a newspaper Web site, the browser knows the user’s location. The newspaper can send relevant content and, more important, relevant targeted advertising within 2 blocks on a person’s location. “This makes local advertising on mobile highly potent with high CPMS,” Howe said.
Second: There is a new capability for publishers to charge for subscriptions or micropayments through one application. For example, a user could be reading about the new quarterback in town and with one click can purchase premium content like an exclusive video interview the quarterback.