Glad to see Alan Mutter writing at Reflections of a Newsosaur recently about newspapers “making the same self-defeating mistakes with their mobile initiatives that they did with the Internet.”
He goes on:
With few notable exceptions, the mobile apps released by newspapers to date do little more than faithfully reproduce the same content already carried in print and on their websites. In addition to typically being free for consumers, the apps carry little, if any, advertising.
Worst of all, the apps are doing nothing to attract the two-thirds of the people who do not happen to read a newspaper or visit its website. And a great number of those people are in the under-55 generation coveted most by advertisers.
I said essentially the same thing in a post here back in August. If anything, I was a little more unkind, writing in dissent after Wired’s controversial “The Web is Dead” cover story posited that Big Media would prosper in a post-browser world:
Why should we believe that the media organizations that thoroughly botched their Web strategies will get the app-powered Internet right? Yes, apps offer a lot of structural advantages to traditional orgs. But those orgs also had big advantages 15 or 20 years ago going into the era of the Web browser. They had big audiences. They had brand recognition. They had talent. They had cash. They still lost.
Fast forward to the present day and look at a lot of the traditional orgs’ apps for iPad, iPhone, and the like. How many are grossly mispriced or crippled in terms of their features? How many really give users the aggregation they want, like Pulse or Stitcher or Flipboard do? How many lack real integration with social networks or have screwy user interfaces? Maybe these are the early missteps signaling that the traditional media will lose the next battle too.
Not that I think Mutter — or much of anyone else, based on my traffic logs — noticed all this. But it’s good to get some independent validation of a premise I’ve been working from as a developer myself.