Conference summary: Revenue opportunities from new technology

The annual World Telemedia 360 Conference was held in Malta in June. There was much discussion on how newspapers can make money in new ways. Suzanne Raitt, VP Marketing & Innovation, Canadian Newspaper Association, has summarized the key findings.

Online paywalls– These are being tested around the world. For example, News International’s The Times of London and Wall Street Journal went behind paywalls within the last month. Some are already there such as the Financial Times (which pundits indicate is successful behind a paywall due to its specialized content).

Monetizing unique content– Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland) provides an interesting and effective example.  The paper put its leading journalists on diets. The journalists wrote about this daily and there were video updates (making it into a quasi-reality show). Not only did circulation go up (due to considerable interest from the community) but so did revenues. 13,000 people signed up to pay €10 per month to get details online and in mobile. Also, advertisers wanted to place their campaigns around the content,

Content for tablets– This is news that you can read, watch and touch. An example provided is the Guardian Eyewitness which delighted its audiences through outstanding photography. Guardian undertook this project in 6 weeks and garnered a sponsorship from Canon worth £150K.

Develop apps or mobile web experience for the tablet– Tom Horsey, Froggie Mobile Solutions (Madrid), suggests both as they are complementary. He states apps need mobile web as so many apps are mobile web front ends. While apps are expensive to develop and different ones are required for varying platforms (e.g. android, blackberry), they do look great and provide good user experiences. He recommends apps for single actions (e.g. train times). Mobile web, while not currently as “cool” and less integrated into devices (for now), looks good, is easy to refresh, works on all devices and is cheap to develop. Mobile, he indicates, is good for larger services.

Micropayments: Experts feel this opportunity now outweighs the cost. To date, many organizations have avoided micropayment options (for services) due to significant charges by networks. One option discussed was using the consumer’s mobile phone bill – full payment is processed before the delivery of goods and services and users receive confirmation or they receive notice they need to top-up their account (meaning the purchase is delayed until they have credit). Also raised was the idea of offering two prices: one for credit card payment and a premium price for micropayments.

iAds– Just announced by Apple as its in-app ad strategy. With average iPhone usage of apps at about 30 minutes a day, this provides a revenue generating opportunity. Apple is sharing with the developer 60% of the ad revenue.