Feedback Loop: The Mobile Monetization Dilemma

Each Friday we ask an industry leader to critique Digiday’s coverage of the industry that week. PJ Gurumohan, CEO of GENWI, does the honors this week.

Are Publishers Failing on Tablets?
The tablet experience for most magazines means that elegant designs and rich content are undermined by static 96-page PDFs that can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour to download. The last time I checked, no one wants to download an entire website to get one page. So why do publishers still make readers download an entire magazine? And why do they insist on delivering their content in 30-day packages that are often written months in advance? In our Twitter-speed world, magazine content can sometimes feel like it’s from another planet.

OK, we had to comment on this one, right? Our own Rahul Patel, fellow GENWI founder and CTO, inked this piece ,and it touches on a quiet revolution that’s taking place in our industry. Let me be blunt: Publishers that believe PDFs are apps will fail. Period. Adobe is stifling the publishing industry with technologies that aren’t built to support live content or take advantage of the inherent nature of mobile. If you’re a publisher who creates PDF-based mobile apps, then this article is a must-read.

The Publisher Debate: Apps vs. Mobile Web
One of the more interesting — if not perplexing — conversations occurring among publishers has to do with how they should approach mobile: app versus Web. So we asked several publishers and media executives the following question: In 2012, should publishers be investing their future in apps or the in-browser experience, like HTML 5? Why?

A quick recap on what’s at the heart of this debate: Publishing solutions were originally for print and Web. Then, 67 million iPads changed the game. I agree with those who commented that this is an evolution and every organization needs to choose a path that is best for them. However, I often feel like this conversation is moot. Native apps and mobile websites both have their benefits and limitations. It should not matter if it’s HTML5 or native apps; publishers should be able to create once and reach both with similar experiences. This is possible by through “cloud publishing” and allows publishers to create once and deliver across all devices, native and HTML5.

Inside Business Insider’s Business
At some point, you’ve clicked on a provocative headline because, well, you’re human. Sometimes the temptation to see the 15 sexiest programmers alive is too strong to deny. You know that it’s a slideshow, and you know that you’ll be upset at yourself when you’re done clicking. But yet you do — and you’re not alone.

As one of the original inventors of the RSS reader, I can understand the challenges of integrating news content and the need for live updates and relevant content. What’s missing from this discussion is the importance of curating content, which can be an overwhelming task. The most important aspect of this piece is the role of the “Modern Publisher.” The president of Business Insider, Julie Hansen, puts it best — that prepackaged content delivery is dead. I couldn’t agree more. Most of us are very busy. We want up-to-the minute news and information in easily digestible nuggets. And taking this concept into the world of mobile (where I live), it’s the Modern Publisher’s role to create digital experiences that are highly relevant, can be curated by the reader based on interest, universally searchable, geo-location aware, and deeply engaging. And it would be nice to receive the curated content stream with a stunning lean-back experience on my iPad and a quick summary along with notifications on my iPhone.

Envisioning Facebook’s Mobile Future
Ever since Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said that mobile is a first priority for the social network, there’s been a lot of talk about what Facebook’s mobile future may look like. Members of the industry are convinced that Facebook has a promising future in mobile marketing.

Although some could argue why Facebook stock remains well below the IPO price set a few weeks ago, the real answer has to do with how Facebook will monetize on mobile. This article is a good overview of Facebook’s challenges, particularly on smartphones. But what this piece does not address is the important differences between how Facebook should approach advertising on the smartphone vs. the tablet. In my opinion, Facebook has a tremendous opportunity to increase mobile advertising revenue on the tablet — a larger form factor to run highly relevant, geo-location-aware advertising. I’m sure that Facebook is giving the tablet opportunity a lot of strategic thought.

Flowchart to Avoid the Word Guru
Here is a handy flowchart in case you find yourself in a situation in which you are considering using the much-loved industry term “guru” and aren’t sure how to proceed. It is a difficult situation to handle, hence this useful chart. Good luck.

This one made me smile and, if you missed it, definitely check it out. It’s very witty to point out how much we throw bombastic marketing jargon around. Yes, I’m equally guilty at times. Luckily, most marketers are moving towards a more authentic, descriptive and intelligent tone for their brand. This flowchart diagram is a nice reminder to stay on that course.

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