China Watch Blog has learnt that the popularity of smartphones and mobile devices, as well as the rising impact of social media, has shifted how ordinary readers have access to news stories.
Consumers’ attention is drawn towards all kinds of colorful applications on touch phones and tablets. How will traditional media ride on the waves of technological reform? Is the booming of social media a blessing or rather a misfortune for newspaper and magazine publishers?
Top media and advertising executives joined a recent Circle A salon to talk about what they’ve done to cope with the shift of reading habits, how they’re building new channels to reach more readers and how they’re riding on the new trend to make their stories more influential.
Circle A was initiated by AdChina in 2010, aimed at bringing together media, advertising and new media companies in an open platform to exchange views. Shanghai Daily is the co-host of the inaugural Circle A in Shanghai this month.
Philip Kuai says: We all know that Sina launched a successful promotion for its Weibo service several years ago. But it’s a company with huge capital and human resources. How do you promote your mobile applications with limited budgets and resources?
Jane Yu: We didn’t do any big-scale market promotions during the initial stage of iWeekly.
First we invited some “opinion leaders” to use the application and got some recommendations from them. Then we were featured by Apple in its App Store, which was a key step for us.
Apple will feature some valuable applications in every catalog and you should seize the opportunity to be recommended in the feature list.
Benjamin Wei: There are some methods like posting in forums or application recommendation websites. But the key thing is the app’s quality. If it’s really fascinating, it will get recommendations and be featured naturally.
Philip Kuai: The boom in mobile Internet and the smartphones and tablets has offered many new channels to distribute one’s content. Readers are getting so many choices, and to catch readers’ attention there has to be a very good convergence of high quality content and user experience.
I would like to hear how each of you are thinking about expanding new platforms and how to better combine new media platforms with existing content. How do you balance inputs on your own new media platform and social media platforms?
Daphne Wu: Social media platforms such as Sina Weibo has helped us to get our news stories delivered to a very large audience and wider than we have expected.
They have opened up many new channels to get our voices heard and our ideas communicated, but what matters for us content producers most is the agenda-setting process, the ability to produce high quality news stories with social impact.
A content producer is like a curator, and mobile applications provide a better way to present our stories and ideas. The most essential thing is to have our own platform in the mobile Internet sector and to keep our readers because readers are our core value.
We have to make sure our intellectual property rights don’t get infringed and at the same time get our stories presented through various new channels.
Jack Gao: In the Internet era, good news quality itself is the best advertising for publishers. However, digitalized media content and the digital way of selling will become the mainstream in the long run.
We have to keep in mind that running media in the digital age requires us to adapt to new consumer habits. Merely moving the newspaper stories to an iPad version won’t do much benefit because the digital editing process and publication procedures have changed completely.
There have been arguments whether those with high quality content or those with an excellent interactive experience on mobile devices could dominate the market. From the current experience, only by combining those two can one become a successful media company.
Courtesy of Shanghai Daily