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New Data: Era of Mobile Media Has Dawned

How many people, do you estimate, are currently accessing your company's website via mobile devices? (*) If you're like many in the media industry, you probably don't know.
In his article, Mobile Web Audience is Larger Than you Think, Forrester's Neil Strother points out that the audiences for the four following websites have already become substantial (in millions of monthly uniques):
  • Yahoo 34.0
  • People.com 18.0
  • Weather.com 12.5
  • ESPN.com 6.7
Some of these sites also report that repeat-visit rates are very high, as well. Clearly, new business models need to evolve to accommodate this market segment. And, as more and more people adapt to smart phones and eReaders, the growth curve for this kind of traffic will only accelerate.

Furthermore, once users make the transition from only using computers for consuming media to using mobile devices as well, they tend to start to favor the latter, according to some recent research by comScore's AdMob:

"More than 40% reported using the Internet on their mobile device more often than using the Internet from their computers or listening to the radio."

Half of the roughly 3,500 users of iPhone and iPod touch devices surveyed in this study also reported that they access the mobile web more frequently than they read newspapers.

Every time I look over research of this kind, I have to remind myself how early we are still in the transition to the Mobile Media Era. These are still the very early days. But the trend lines are irrefutable. Computers will still be used by writers and researchers and other content creators because they are optimized for those uses, but they've never been very good as reading devices.

On the other hand, innovative products like the Sony Reader, Google Android, Amazon Kindle, among others, will compete to emerge as the reading platform of choice simply because -- just as with the newspapers, magazine, and books of yesteryear -- readers have always favored and continue to favor mobile devices for their reading experience.

(*) An even more fundamental question is this: Are users even able to access your company's website via a mobile device? For a surprising number of media sites, the answer to this question is still "no."