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Norway: One in five use media content on mobiles every day

One in five Norwegians now consume media content on mobile platforms on a daily basis. Changes happen so fast that media companies struggle to keep up.

One in five Norwegians use media content on mobile platforms each day

Hardly before has the media industry seen changes in user patterns take place as fast as during the last year. And this time we are not talking about how people are abandoning the printed newspaper (they still are), but how mobile media consumption is exploding.

TNS Gallup, a major market research company, just published its latest data about how Norwegians use media content on mobile platforms.

Norway is a country of almost five million people. Yes, it is a small country. Yet Norway and the other Scandinavian countries are technologically advanced – and the population is generally considered to be early adopters of new technology. Because of this, changes in media habits in these countries should be of interest to media companies in other countries in the Western world as well.

The latest report from TNS Gallup shows how quickly Norwegians now are adopting mobile phones as a platform for consuming media content.

In the first quarter of 2011 19,3 % of Norwegians – or one in five – consumed media content daily on mobile platforms. That is twice as many as one year ago.

Here is a graphical presentation of the changes in use of mobile media content during the last few years.

Explosion in usage of media content on mobile platforms in Norway

For media companies still struggling to come to grips with users moving from the printed newspaper to the web this poses a new challenge. It may seem like readers’ habits are changing faster than many media companies are able to adapt.

The transformation from PCs to mobile platforms is driven by two forces:

The smartphone. Media habits changed almost overnight with the introduction of iPhone. Suddenly people started using their mobile phones to surf the web.

  • The iPad – and other tablets. iPad is opening up new user situations for media content.

I looked at how these changes play out with Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten (disclaimer: I work for Media Norway, the owner company of Aftenposten).

In April one in six visits to Aftenposten’s digital products were on mobile platforms.

One in six!

Or 16,3 % to be more specific. 12,4 % on mobile phones and 3,9 % on iPad.

The percentage is up from 3,7 % in the beginning of 2010.

Use of Aftenposten's digital products from mobile platforms has increased significantly over the last year

I don’t have access to data for the other Norwegian media houses, but I am pretty sure the trend is similar.

It is a dramatic shift in just one year – and the revolution is bound to continue. This means that media houses have to hurry up to develop great mobile versions of their content. In Norway most large media companies already have quite good mobile versions. However, very few are able to make significant revenues yet on the mobile platforms.

More than anything, though, the platform shifts offer new opportunities for media companies to create compelling products for new user situations. We can already observe very specific user patterns throughout the day on the different devices:

  • News content on PCs is consumed throughout the whole day, without any clear peak. In fact the usage is at its highest while people are at work.
  • iPad is a sofa device. The usage peak is from 6 to 11 PM at night.
  • The mobile phone usage pattern has a big peak early in the morning and another one in the late afternoon as people commute home from work.  But the most intense usage is from 11 PM to midnight. All of a sudden media companies are finding themself in people’s beds!
The usage of Aftenposten.no on PC, iPad and mobile phones have very different patterns throughout the day

The usage of Aftenposten.no on PC, iPad and mobile phones have very different patterns throughout the day

So what does this mean?

First of all: Media companies have an unprecedented chance to reach their users throughout the day and in whatever situation they might be.

The challenge now is to develop smart cross-platform media products that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and at whatever device the users choose to consume the content.

About the author: Experienced media manager and journalist. Enthusiastic about digital media – and eager amateur photographer. Currently Chief Communications Officer at Schibsted Tech Polska in Krakow, Poland.

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