Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Online/Mobile Divide: Lack of U.S. Mobile Adoption is the Next Revenue Gap

MediaPost reports on a new Netpop report on the U.S. broadband marketplace which highlights an interesting factoid: only five percent of Web users considered to be "innovators" use mobile devices to access Web content services. Sending email is the top use, underscoring mobile devices being used as messaging platforms, content use lags far behind. One of the main reasons cited for lower use? Price. None of this is terribly surprising given real-world experiences but it does underscore the need for content providers to consider whether the content licensing deals that they have struck with many of today's mobile providers haven't stymied overall mobile content growth. The stepchild in mobile access to date has been broadband wireless services, which are subject to telecommunications carriers trying to build tiered pricing into these services - which will likely slow adoption of these services.

With a looming gap between print and online revenues many publishers are concentrating full-bore on the move to online platforms to try to shore up margins. But as print continues its decline at a decreasingly ungentle rate publishers' horizons must turn to broadband wireless services more aggressively. Apple's upcoming iPhone features a full-screen browser to make online services more consumable via mobile devices, a trend that is likely to increase demand for mobile content - if the price is right. Publishers need to step up their lobbying efforts in Washington to ensure that cost-effective broadband wireless access can come online as quickly as possible to ensure that mobile users can stay connected to the services that are most likely to help publishers supplement declining print revenues with the medium that is most likely to become the default "reading on the go" medium.
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