Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Media companies -- but not advertisers -- embrace mobile technology

Several years ago I was at a conference where one of the new media types dominating the speaking roles was extolling his newest toy -- an early version of the smart phone. "This is the future," I remember him saying, holding up a phone with a tiny stream of text. I don't want to read my news on that tiny screen; it'll take all day to read a story, I remember thinking.

Flash forward and here I was sitting in a doctor's office reading the Guardian newspaper's lead story on a tiny screen. It still was slow and inefficient, but mobile has made it's place in the new media world in which we live.

A new report by Online Media Daily indicates that publishers are quickly adapting with more than a quarter of them offering mobile applications -- a doubling in the last year. The problem, as it is with all digital media, is advertising presence.

Online Media says that ad presence remains very low, which makes sense giving the small screen. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers tiny ads at the bottom of the screen, but tiny is the operative word. They barely show up, and still are offensive giving the small amount of real estate available.

It's an evolving technology (and the smart phone is vastly inferior to the tablet as a vehicle for media), but where I once disdained the very thought of trying to make sense of such limited text options, I now use it. So who knows what the future might bring.

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