Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Survey reveals that editors get the importance of mobile; Google Shopper iPhone app offers local deals, well sort of

A recently released study conducted by the American Society of News Editors with the American Press Institute shows most editors understand the important of mobile, though the study also shows that editors feel their biggest challenge is dealing with staff cutbacks.

The study, found here, found that just under 85 percent of respondents found that "exploiting mobile opportunities as a way of distributing content and building audience" was either important or very important.

But almost 84 percent said that it was very important to "maintain quality writing and editing, despite budget and staff cuts," reflecting the reality of today's newsrooms.

What editors were less enthusiastic about was the prospect of creating new niche products, whether print or digital, or developing content sharing strategies, possibly reflecting a fear that they were merely ways to "do more with less". Editors surveyed were also less thrilled with creating local news blogs.

While the survey is good news for those advocating continued digital development and new strategies for building audiences through new content, it provides a cautionary note that established print editors may not be the most enthusiastic supporters of some of these initiatives – suggesting that new digital teams may be the best route to launch these efforts.

While it is true that some newspapers have embraced social buying programs, either through partnerships with companies like Group Commerce, or by launching their own like Gannett's DealChicken, none (as far as I know) have brought those programs to mobile.

Google, on the other hand, has added a "My Offers" section to its iPhone Google Shopper app. The app provides either a list of offers to be found near-by, or a map showing the offers.

Of course, what Google considers "near-by" probably has more to do with where you live. A NYC or SF resident can probably expect plenty of deals to be found near-by, while someone like myself . . . well, not so much.

But these are the kinds of mobile products newspapers should be embracing. But to do so, these initiatives would have to be driven by the advertising teams. Unfortunately, I am not finding that new media efforts are being driven by the ad teams, instead most new efforts – whether for mobile or tablets – seem to be the exclusive domain of the editorial department.