Everyone wants to stay up to date, and wants to be aware of the latest news. This results in a booming market of news applications. We are all familiar with NU.nl for the basic news and funny facts, NOS.nl if we would like to have some more insights and a lot of people have installed Bright nowadays to be able to get to know the latest innovations and lifestyle trends. All these news applications are slightly different and we want to have access to them all on our mobile phone to stay up to date. But is there no easier way to read this variety of news articles?
Let me introduce you to Recent News. This news application is launched in September 2015 and is taking care of the importance of customization. Recent News will first ask their new users to fill in their interests and what kind of articles they are looking for. There are many subjects and specializations to choose from. After this artificial intelligence will take over. A learning system is integrated and Recent News will customize your news based on your preferences, past reading behaviour and similar users. The news application is able to learn your interests and will propose exactly these articles you may like to read (Bright, 2015; Recent News, 2015).
In my opinion Recent News is one of the innovations that is able to serve the future. Nowadays users will ask for more personal and customized products and services. Because of the Internet the market is more transparent than ever, consumers are better informed and they can find exactly what they want (Clemons, 2008). Firms have to make sure that they will respond to these needs; firms have to be able to customize their services the best they can. Clemons (2008) shows that this trend called resonance marketing; the firm should find the perfect fit with the customer.
Another feature of Recent News will also fit the latest trends: the location-based suggestions. Recent News will propose the users news articles based on their location. According to Ghose, Goldfarb and Han (2013) mobile Internet differs from Internet on personal computers. They show that mobile Internet is an important driver of the rise of location-based services. In our case Recent News will respond closely by proposing articles to their users based on their location, within news application local news becomes more important and preferable.
I am curious about how the future will look like. How can we still improve customization and make products and services even more personalized? Is artificial intelligence the future of businesses to customize the services and is this the way to really get to know the customers? Besides that I am wondering if news applications such as Recent News are able to replace the variety of news applications that exist these days? Let’s count the number of news apps that we have right now and compare it to the number we will have over two years.
Bright, 2015. ‘App van de week: Recent News’ http://www.bright.nl/app-van-de-week-recent-news, last visited: 20 September 2015.
Clemons, E.K. 2008. How Information Changes Consumer Behavior and Consumer Behavior Determines Corporate Strategy. Journal of Management Information Systems 25(2) 13-40.
Ghose, A., Goldfarb, A., and Han, S. 2013. How is the Mobile Internet Different? Search Costs and Local Activities. Information Systems Research. Articles in Advance. 1-19.
Recent News, 2015. http://www.recent.io/, last visited: 20 September 2015.
Author: Lizan Bakker
Of course you are, and so am I. Online ads are on the rise and can be very annoying. Thankfully, ad blockers easily allow you to block advertisements and increase the speed of browsing. But did you ever wonder what the consequences of using ad blockers are? And what about the latest developments in this industry? This 3-minute read will get you up-to-date.
The online advertising industry
Online advertising is one of the few industries that can bend on growth rates between 15-20% each year. In the past 10 years, internet advertising has seen a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 17%. Mobile internet advertising even shows a CAGR of 110% over the past 5 years.
The rise of ad blockers
With the rise of online advertisements, there has been a rise in the adaptation of ad blockers as well, especially in the last few years. A recent report from Adobe shows that globally around 200 million people are currently making use of ad blockers, a growth of 41% in comparison to 2014.
Graph 2: Global monthly active users that have an ad blocker
As we speak, ad blockers are mostly used on non-mobile devices. However, Apple’s newest iOS 9, which runs on iPad and iPhone, might change this trend. The new software update of Apple makes it possible to use ad blockers on both iPhones and iPads. Mobile ads seemed to be the future of advertising, but might stagnate due to this development.
Companies are missing money – a LOT of money
There are a lot of companies and content creators who are dependant of online ad revenues. Ad blockers are bad news for them. Some websites, among which Wired.com, kindly request you to whitelist their page, in order to keep their websites running. But how big is this ad-blocking problem for these companies? According to the report of Abobe and PageFair, $22 billion(!) of ad revenue is lost due to ad blockers this year. If the increasing adaptation rate of ad blockers continues as it did in the past few years, the results for content creators and companies can be devastating – and might affect the average internet user as well.
What will the future bring us?
A decrease in ad revenues might result in less content on the web, as ad revenues won’t always enable people and companies to cover their expenses. The entry barrier to create and share quality content might rise, as revenues derived from this content will get more uncertain. A second consequence might be that there will be more places where you will need to pay to access content. Personally I can see the upside of this second consequence, as it makes us, as internet users, more picky in what and how much content we consume.
Seen from a business perspective, the increase in the usage of ad blockers might lead to a change of business model for a lot of companies; they cannot just simply rely on ad revenues anymore. In the future we might see websites with a Spotify-type of business model: view content for free if you are willing to accept ads (whitelist a website if you are using an ad blocker), or pay a subscription fee if you want ad free content.
Studies and examples such as Spotify Premium have shown that users are willing to pay for an ad-free web-environment. Would you be willing to pay, or would you rather see ads in return for free content?
Pundits have long called for transformation of news media that will bring new business models better fitted for the digital age. It is still common that publishers offer separate subscriptions for online and offline channels or expensive bundles for mobile access. Efforts to breath new life into the publishing business came not only from publishers and media companies but also technology companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft. Apple’s Newsstand app, which was introduced in 2011 as a hallmark feature of iOS 5, allowed publishers to recreate and publish their magazines on the iOS platform. Magazines published in the Newsstand app behaved differently from regular apps and had more rights that ought to make them more attractive for publishers and subscribers. Apple provided the tools for publishers to offer free and paid subscriptions and the possibility to push new content to subscribers. Similar solutions were also created by companies such as Samsung and Google. Large and small publishers saw this as an opportunity to reach new customers, with news/magazine apps that stood out from other apps.
Marco Arment, one of the first employees at Tumblr and creator of Instapaper, took on the challenge to create a magazine native to the digital age and perfectly suited for the capabilities of mobile devices. the result was The Magazine.
Introduced, in 2012, the Magazine was a Newsstand app that released weekly issues. Because there are many freelance writers who produce content for their own websites, Marco figured he could attract those writers to produce content for The Magazine. For writers it was attractive to write for The Magazine, since the company allowed all contributors to retain ownership of their content and let them publish it on their own sites two months after it was published in The Magazine. Marco believed that the new tools created a new category for magazines such as The Magazine:
But just as the App Store has given software developers a great new option for accepting direct payment, Newsstand has given publishers an even bigger opportunity with subscription billing and prominent placement. Yet most publishers aren’t experimenting with radical changes.
There’s room for another category between individuals and major publishers, and that’s where The Magazine sits. It’s a multi-author, truly modern digital magazine that can appeal to an audience bigger than a niche but smaller than the readership of The New York Times. This is what a modern magazine can be, not a 300 MB stack of static page images laid out manually by 100 people.
On the money side, The Magazine relied on paid subscriptions from readers and individual issue sales. This revenue was used to pay writers (the subsidy side),editing, illustration, proofreading, design, and programming for each issue.
Although The Magazine was fairly popular and highly profitable according to the owners, the company recently announced that it is shutting down.
Why did it fail?
Apple’s Newsstand is also partially to blame. Because all apps created for the Newsstand are locked into the Newsstand app, they are no longer visible on the homescreen. And because the average mobile device already has dozens of apps fighting for attention, out of sight means out of mind for apps locked in folders. Furthermore, these apps also often faced download issues, causing frustration for subscribers. But unfortunately, the main reason for shutting down is the lack of subscribers. The Magazine did not have a high enough retention rate and was losing subscribers faster than it was gaining them.
What are the possibilities?
The Magazine has shown that it is possible apply a new business model for news media. However, just applying the newest technologies and building a high-quality app was not enough. Publishers already have the writers, they need to find a way to gain and retain as much subscribers as possible.
Do you think large publishing houses should take example?