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The new revolution media companies have to face

Mobile news consumption is picking up very fast

The changes are a revolution: Almost one in three visits to Norwegian media products are now from mobile platforms.

For two years I have been recording how users choose the different digital platforms of Norway’s biggest newspaper: Aftenposten.

The dramatic changes over the last 24 months are indeed a revolution.

People are moving from PCs to mobile platforms at increasing speed. It is only a matter of time before smartphones and tablets will outperform the PC as the major platform for media consumption in Norway.

With 1,3 million unique visitors to its web site every week in a country of 4,5 million there is no reason to believe that the numbers from Aftenposten are not representative for the media market in Norway as a whole.

So let us compare which platforms people used to consume the news from Aftenposten in January 2012 with the same month two years ago.

PC versus mobile platforms

Some conclusions

  • Visits from mobile platforms have increased from 3,7 % of the total in January 2010 to 30,5 % in January 2012 (23,9 % mobile phones, 6,6 % iPad).
  • Two years ago there were 26 times as many visits from PCs as from mobile phones.  Last month there were only 2,3 times as many visits from PCs as from mobile phones and tablets.
  • So far there are no signs that the new traffic from mobile phones and tablets have cannibalized the traffic from PCs.  Instead the mobile visits are coming on top of the visits already from PCs.
  • iPad is picking up quickly – and made a jump during the Christmas holiday. Almost seven per cent of the total visits to Aftenposten’s products now come from the iPad.


Android picking up market shares quickly

There are also interesting developments in what type of mobile phones people use to access the news site:

  • Apple’s IOS has stayed the biggest mobile operating system ever since this statistics started two years ago. But in January 2010 IOS was barely bigger than Nokia’s Symbian operating system.
  • Since then Symbian have almost disappeared completely and instead Android phones are starting to pick up market shares at increasing speed.
  • Last month IOS was 53,6 % of the mobile visits, while 34,5 % used Android phones. The gap between the two is decreasing every month.
  • Especially the Android-based  Samsung Galaxy gt-i9100 seems to gain popularity quickly in the Norwegian market. From December 2011 to January 2012 the number of visits from iPhones actually decreased by 3,7 per cent, while the number of visits from Samsung Galaxy phones increased with 15,1 %.  No wonder which phone was under the Christmas trees!
Dramatic changes
All in all the changes are happening so fast that it is difficult to keep pace.  It teaches us that we shall not take anything for granted in the revolution media companies are in the midst of. Companies and platforms that may seem like winners today may actually be losers in just a couple of years. And we may see completely new winners emerge.
We better try to be prepared! And media companies with no mobile strategy better start to run – fast!

Please also visit my personal web site sandvand.net.


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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/ Media Helping Media

    Hi John,

    Interesting stats. Is the content being adapted to work well on mobile platforms or is it the same material pushed out online?  And if it’s not being adapted, do you think such an investment would increase the mobile take up?


  • http://www.betatales.com John Einar Sandvand

    Hi David,

    At the moment the mobile version basically is a mirror of the web site – but of course visually adjusted to fit the much smaller screen. The web site has also been adjusted for the iPad, for instance by removing all Flash ads. 

    Then the more interesting question is whether news sites also should make different editorial versions of the same article depending on whether it is published on the regular web site or on the mobile site. Maybe. But personally I think it is smarter to start looking at whether the content mix should be adjusted. 

    The reason is that people use the PCs and their mobile phones in very different situations. For Aftenposten, for example, the peak hours for the mobile sites are in the early morning and in the late night, while the peak for the web site is while people are at work. It seems obvious that user needs are different in these situations. For instance it seems like people use video much more on the mobile phone. Also I would think they are more open to “timekill” content – using the mobile phone to kill a few minutes while waiting for someone. 

    To conclude: Probably we should look at how we can mix our content in a different way on the mobile version to adjust to the different user situations. 

    What do you think?


  • http://twitter.com/fayos fayos

    I would not call it “new” as the transformation of news media platforms towards domination by digital – from PC to smartphones and such other hand held devices has been on a forward march for close on a decade now. The only fascinating aspect is the rapid growth in numbers of consumers experimenting (for that’s really what they are doing) with mobile gadgets.

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