Interview with Kristina Bürén, IFRA Sweden
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IFRA: What recommendations do you have for publishers who aren’t doing anything with mobile yet, and aren’t sure where to start?
Kristina Bürén: I think one way to start is to make your content available for the mobile phone. What many newspapers in Sweden, for example, actually still do is that they start by offering SMS services and try to build communications with their readers via mobile by asking them to send in news tips, asking them to participate in "best picture" contests via MMS, and vote for things via mobile phone, and so on.
They start by building the relationship with customers and then building up a database as they find out what readers are interested in that could be connected to everything from what type of information they are interested in to advertising.
The other way is to publish a mobile site with more information on it. Both possibilities can be good.
Depending on what kind of newspaper it is (such as financial or regional), they need to sit down and really consider what kind of information their audience needs. For example, a regional newspaper might feel that they would like to do a city guide, while a financial newspaper would like to make the latest market movements available.
So, what a publisher has to consider is: Who is the audience and what are their needs/wants?
And from there, determine which system suppliers are available and what they can provide, because there are many different types of systems. For example, there are publishing systems that you can add on to your regular publishing system that would adapt the site for mobile, or you can have a full mobile-
And then, when you are looking at the audience, you will probably find out that you have an audience who would be interested in both a mobile site and some sort of message-
What many people have also done so far is taken a trial-
What we’re seeing that is working well in Sweden is tips numbers where if readers can send in their pictures (from a breaking news event, for example) to the publisher.
In Sweden, each publisher gets their own short-
Just as importantly, what the newspaper has to consider is not only what their audience wants – but also how to finance the services.
And here the trend is that we are seeing a shift into advertising finances services. This is going slowly but it is coming. According to studies, the advertisers are interested, however the newspapers will need to train their sales staff to sell for this channel also, but the click-
And we see other players on the market, such as the mobile operators, trying to sell mobile ad space etc.
IFRA: What do you see as some of the main trends in mobile today?
Bürén: I think what Aftenbladet is doing with their mobile tagging is quite interesting. Trying to connect mobile with print – not mobile with web, but actually the print product with mobile and mobile video.
One major trend that we see is an increasing number of local and regional papers wanting to be available on the mobile phone, so I think over the coming months, we will see more newspapers on mobile or that have a mobile version of some kind.
Since the iPhone was launched, the surfing and the browsing of data has gone up, and this will only continue to grow.
Also, what we have been talking about for a while is mobile payments, and that has not really taken off just yet. What we were trying to do in Sweden is to have people send in classifieds via mobile and have them pay for it at the same time. That still has not really taken off here (in Sweden), but it is working in Finland. And I think that since more newspapers are now increasingly using mobile for surfing and so on, that we will see an increase in all of the usage of different types of services.
This interview was conducted by IFRA Magazine Senior Editor Brian Veseling.