Mobile and Digital Edition Ideas from 'Beyond the Printed Word'

The annual IFRA/WAN/FIPP Beyond the Printed Word online publishing conference was held in Prague yesterday and today. A summary of the presentations is available from WAN and there is an interesting conference moblog.

Here from the conference (my thanks to the IFRA and WAN summaries) are some interesting ideas about mobile and digital editions:

From the presentation by Thanita Khomphatraporn, Executive Vice President, Business Development & Investor Relations, The Nation Group, Thailand:

    Like a lot of media companies, The Nation has bad memories of the dot-com bust. But it is now using that experience to drive its development in the mobile world.

    Why now for mobile? In markets where everyone has a mobile telephone, future growth will come from providing non-voice content for those devices. “It’s not just a telephone, it’s a personal terminal”, said Ms Khomphatraporn. “The content application is getting more and more critical.”

    Ms Khomphatraporn offered advice to avoid the dot-com excesses when developing mobile services. Here are two suggestions:

    – Find partners and find synergy rather than doing it on your own.

    – Instead of “go big”, make sure the projects are prudent — and self-funding.

Frpm ‘Getting the Most from SMS’, a presentation by Morris Packer and Josefine Granding Larsson, Bonnier Group, Sweden:

    SMS, or text messaging, has benefits for both newspapers and their customers. For readers, it is easy to use, offers immediate gratification, and it is relatively inexpensive. For newspapers, SMS provides easier administration (no paper to sort for contests and subscriptions, for example), and it provides a new revenue stream (the reader pays a premium fee to send their message).

    “SMS is a brilliant return channel for print, radio and TV, says Ms Larsson. “Print is strengthened by SMS, and SMS is strengthened by print. SMS is an untapped source of administrative possibilities. And usage statistics are gold — knowing who is using services, when and how.”

    Here are two examples of how Bonnier Group is using SMS:

    – A crossword contest in which a successful solution produces a code which the reader then sends by text message to the paper, where the results are sorted by computer. The message costs the sender 50 Euro cents per message. “Even in half a Euro, there are small profits,” says Ms Larsson.

    – Sydsvenskan, the leading regional newspaper in southern Sweden, inserts an SMS code in stories that won’t be resolved before deadline — court cases that will be held later in the day, for example. Readers who want to know the outcome send the code to the paper and receive the update by SMS. “The reader subscribes to a specific piece of news, not to breaking news in general,” says Mr Packer.

From a presentation about e-ink and e-paper, by Harry Bouwman, Manager New Media Strategy, De Telegraaf, the Netherlands; Stig Nordqvist, Ifra Nordic Representative, Sweden; Rudy Raymaekers, Director, Concentra, Belgium; and Gunnar Springfeldt, Development Director, G

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