How Mobile Can Be a Second Chance for Newspapers

When the newspaper publishing industry first started dealing with the Internet in the 1990s, publishers were at a loss as to what to do. Their first reaction was to give the content away, but that caused revenue problems. By the time they tried to put a pay wall on the content, it was already too late. Now that the transition to mobile content is in full swing, publishers get another shot at monetizing their content and they want to do it right this time.

SEE ALSO: Yes! Print Job Ads are Still Working for The New York Times

The Audience Is Big

According to, there are approximately 7.2 billion mobile devices in use around the world. That is a pretty impressive number when you consider that it is more than the population of the planet and not everyone in the world has a mobile device. For the top 50 news publishers in the world, a staggering 50 percent of their traffic comes from mobile devices. It is safe to say that there is plenty of traffic for publishers to use to generate revenue.

But The Revenue Is Just Not There

According to Fortune Magazine, only 10 out of those 50 publishers report that mobile engagement time is higher than standard website engagement. That means that 80 percent of the audience that is reading mobile content is not staying on that content as long as they used to. Less engagement time means less chance for revenue.

The other issue is that mobile content is not nearly as easy to monetize as standard website content. Mobile websites make it difficult to gather any analytical information to monitor traffic, and the display window for mobile content is much too small for persistent banner or link advertising. As more people transition to mobile content, publishers face a very real chance that advertising revenues could drop again, just like they did when content went from paper to the Internet.

But Publishers Know This Is Their Chance

While news publishers lost a lot in the transition to digital content, they learned a lot as well. They learned that they need to create unique content and services for their mobile websites if they want to attract the right audience. They have also learned that they need to invest heavily in native advertising if they want to see any revenue increase.

Newspaper publishers learned that giving away their content was not the right approach because subscription revenue has been on the rise since 2013. Now publishers are looking at the rise of mobile as a chance to take what they have learned and apply it to a clean slate. As the mobile content industry continues to advance, publishers are learning how to develop content and advertising that will attract and retain an audience.

Now that the newspaper has this mobile do-over to work with, many of the larger publishers are determined to learn from the mistakes of the past to make a brighter future for the newspaper industry.

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