Technology at heart of publishers' strategy

Publishers in the UK are looking to mobile phones and iPad-style devices to help transform their digital operations next year, saying emerging technologies were at the "heart of their business development plans".

A new content and trends survey, carried out by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP), found that publishers were confident the technologies would bring a period of "dynamic growth". Of those quizzed, 91 per cent see the opportunity to boost revenues on mobile devices, while 86 per cent were excited about the emergence tablet devices.

Tim Cain, head of research and insight of AOP, said: "There's a great focus on emerging platforms, on mobiles and tablet computers particularly. The iPad has caused a stir in the industry."

The survey, which is in its eighth year, compiled the forecasts of members of the AOP representing 1,500 respected brands and publications.

Other opportunities publishers identified included high speed broadband, social networking, e-Commerce, paid content and behavioural targeting.

The AOP, whose members include the BBC, BSkyB, Conde Nast Digital and Independent Print Limited, the publisher of The Independent, said its survey showed "publishers are investing in emerging platforms to develop business streams and ways to successfully monetise content. New devices are seen as a transformational opportunity".

The survey found that 60 per cent of publishers believe they will have to provide local and "niche" digital content is crucial.

Half the AOP members have currently developed applications for mobile phones, either free or paid for. Despite Apple only launching the iPad tablet earlier this year, one in six publishers already provide iPad apps. Other companies including Samsung and BlackBerry have developed similar tablet devices.

"More publishers are looking at developing free apps with elements of paid features than any other type of charging model over the next 12 months," Mr Cain said.

This year, 65 per cent of publishers expect to increase their mobile content, while content delivered by app will increase for 91 per cent.

Only 12 per cent of publishers had paid applications last year, compared with 40 per cent in 2010.

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