Category: mobile

Why do people read news, why do they pay for it?

Courtesy of NS Newsflash on Flickr.
Courtesy of NS Newsflash on Flickr.

Both of those headline link-bait questions and more answered (or at least addressed) in a below roundup of somewhat recent academic research. I am not including links as most of these are behind paywalls. If you have access, the citation is below the publisher-provided abstract in each case:

Focusing on the Reader: Engagement Trumps Satisfaction.

Satisfaction is commonly monitored by news organizations because it is an antecedent to readership. In fact, countless studies have shown the satisfaction-readership relationship to be true. Still, an essential question remains: Is satisfaction the only, or even the critical, thing to focus on with readership? This research indicates that the answer is no. Two other related constructs, reader experiences and engagement, affect reader behavior even more than does satisfaction. The discussion provides examples of how to increase engagement and calls for experimental research to understand how news organizations can positively affect engagement and thereby readership.

Mersey, Rachel Davis, Malthouse, Edward C., & Calder, Bobby J. (2012). Focusing on the Reader: Engagement Trumps Satisfaction. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 89(4), 695-709. doi: 10.1177/1077699012455391

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Do Satisfied Customers Really Pay More? A Study of the Relationship Between Customer Satisfaction and Willingness to Pay

Two experimental studies (a lab experiment and a study involving a real usage experience over time) reveal the existence of a strong, positive impact of customer satisfaction on willingness to pay, and they provide support for a nonlinear, functional structure based on disappointment theory (i.e., an inverse S-shaped form). In addition, the second study examines dynamic aspects of the relationship and provides evidence for the stronger impact of cumulative satisfaction rather than of transaction-specific satisfaction on willingness to pay.

Homburg, Christian, Koschate, Nicole, & Hoyer, Wayne D. (2005). Do Satisfied Customers Really Pay More? A Study of the Relationship Between Customer Satisfaction and Willingness to Pay. Journal of Marketing, 69(2), 84-96.

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News Audiences Revisited: Theorizing the Link Between Audience Motivations and News Consumption

With a plethora of news outlets today, audiences have more choices than ever. Yet, academic and professional understanding of news audiences from a uses and gratifications perspective remains limited. Using a national survey (N = 1143), this study uncovers distinct news consumption patterns across 4 types of motivations, and predicts media uses across 30 sources with noticeably higher explanatory power as compared to previous uses and gratifications studies, answering the question: Who is using what type of news, and why?

Lee, Angela M. (2013). News Audiences Revisited: Theorizing the Link Between Audience Motivations and News Consumption. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 57(3), 300-317. doi: 10.1080/08838151.2013.816712

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News-seekers and Avoiders: Exploring Patterns of Total News Consumption Across Media and the Relationship to Civic Participation

This study examines patterns of news consumption across multiple media platforms and relates them to civic participation. Analyzing a national sample of close to 25,000 respondents, nearly half the adult population in America is classified as news ‘Avoiders,’ and the other half as ‘News-seekers.’ Testing the relationship between civic participation and news consumption for each of 6 media platforms individually, and to an overall index combining those sources into 1 measure, the results show a positive relationship with civic participation, but the influence of Total News Consumption on civic participation is greater for Avoiders than for News-seekers.

Ksiazek, Thomas B., Malthouse, Edward C., & Webster, James G. (2010). News-seekers and Avoiders: Exploring Patterns of Total News Consumption Across Media and the Relationship to Civic Participation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 54(4), 551-568. doi: 10.1080/08838151.2010.519808

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Young Adults’ Reasons Behind Avoidances of Daily Print Newspaper And Their Ideas For Change

Focus groups in three cities were conducted with young adults (ages 18-29) to understand why they, don’t read daily print newspapers. The study examined news media avoidances, like “inconvenience” and “lack of time,” to uncover underlying meanings. Results showed prominent nonuse reasons have dimensions. Participants also suggested ways newspapers could improve. Participants were studied as two age groups, 18-24 and 25-29. Small group differences did emerge. The older group wanted less negative news, while the younger group justified it; the younger age group was more skeptical of the news and mentioned needing greater effort to understand it.

Zerba, Amy. (2011). Young Adults’ Reasons Behind Avoidances of Daily Print Newspaper And Their Ideas For Change. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 88(3), 597-614.

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Exploring News Apps and Location-Based Services on the Smartphone

This study investigates how young adults use news and location-based services on their smartphones, in addition to examining how many news organizations offer mobile news apps with geo-location features. Based on the survey findings, young adults are consuming news on their smartphones. Furthermore, there is a high use of location-based services by smartphone consumers, but news organizations are only using geo-location features in their mobile apps for traffic and weather. This study highlights that a gap exists between what news consumers, particularly young adults, are doing and using on their smartphones and what news organizations are able to provide.

Weiss, Amy Schmitz. (2013). Exploring News Apps and Location-Based Services on the Smartphone. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 90(3), 435-456. doi: 10.1177/1077699013493788

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Mobile News Adoption among Young Adults: Examining the Roles of Perceptions, News Consumption, and Media Usage

Using the frameworks of innovation diffusion and technology acceptance model, this study examines the predictors of mobile news consumption among young adults. The results show that the perceived relative advantage (especially content), utility, and ease of use of mobile news are positively related to its adoption. The young adults’ news consumption patterns and preferences, as well as media usage, all play a role in the adoption of mobile news. This study also validates the importance of examining the adoption outcome from multiple perspectives.

Chan-Olmsted, Sylvia, Rim, Hyejoon, & Zerba, Amy. (2013). Mobile News Adoption among Young Adults: Examining the Roles of Perceptions, News Consumption, and Media Usage. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 90(1), 126-147. doi: 10.1177/1077699012468742

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Are News Media Substitutes? Gratifications, Contents, and Uses. Journal of Media Economics

Internet is generally expected to have one of two effects on traditional news media: It displaces them, or it forces them into distinct market niches. A shared assumption underlying both expectations is that news media displacement, or substitution, is a function of the degree to which news media are functional equivalents. This article explores this assumption from a niche theoretical perspective, using survey data from 2 student samples as illustrative cases. Findings indicate that, for these students, news media substitution does not depend on functional equivalence of media in providing gratifications and gratification opportunities or types of content. Post hoc analyses suggest instead that, for this particular audience, media use depends on habit and media accessibility. Follow-up studies should further investigate these relations for representative samples.

van der Wurff, Richard. (2011). Are News Media Substitutes? Gratifications, Contents, and Uses. Journal of Media Economics, 24(3), 139-157. doi: 10.1080/08997764.2011.601974

Mobile-First Journalism : a Top Ten list

This discussion originated at Poynter’s Mobile First workshop last week and is slightly edited from suggestions gathered on the Mobile Journalism group on Facebook. And yes, there are 12 items and probably a few good ones still left to be added:

  1. Your website is responsively designed with smartphones as the core case.
  2. Your executive editor/general manager/publisher uses your mobile site daily.
  3. Staffers have smartphones and both consume and report news with them.
  4. Special project planning starts with a discussion of mobile elements and presentation.
  5. Mobile performance is included in staff goals.
  6. You have newsroom and business leaders with ‘mobile’ in their title.
  7. When the mobile site/app breaks at 2 a.m. phone calls are made to get it fixed.
  8. Your advertising team is selling mobile-first and ads are targeted to devices and locations.
  9. Your CMS has multiple content channels allowing different headlines and summary text (etc.) on mobile and web.
  10. You have an API that allows ‘data first’ development for current and future devices and partners.
  11. “User Experience” and “User Centered Design” are key concepts in your product development process.
  12. Fifty percent of your traffic comes via touchscreen devices.

Using Google Forms on a smartphone

I did a fair amount of Google-ing on this looking for a simple answer – without much luck.

So, in case this comes in handy here is a simple-ish way to use Google Spreadsheet forms on an iPhone for data entry in the field.

My current project is an ethnographic survey of news habits among commuters – with a focus on mobile devices. I have been gathering anecdotal info for a while on the commuter rail and T.

For class, I needed to formalize the data a bit, and wanted to use Google Spreadsheets. There may be better survey solutions out there that are mobile-friendly, but I have a lot of other stuff in Google Docs, so there you go.

Creating a form to gather Google Spreadsheet data is dead simple. And (previously unknown to me) you can break a survey form into multiple pages and contextually customize questions. That is GREAT for mobile use as it reduces the amount of content on a single page, and eliminates non-applicable queries on-the-fly.

Unfortunately Google Forms does not include any mobile-specific or responsive themes. It does work on a smartphone, but only with some significant pinch-zooming. This is especially a pain when using tiny radio buttons or check boxes.

The solution I arrived at is pretty simple, especially if you have access to a web server.

1. Set the theme for your form to “Plain” in Google Docs.

2. Limit your survey pages to one question each with 4 – 5 answers – eliminating the need to scroll to find the continue/submit button.

3. Use page breaks, and multiple choice options (which allow a redirect to specific pages based on prior answers) to customize the order and questions offered.

4. Embed the survey code from Google into a web page you control. Doing this on your own server is preferable as you want a completely blank page aside from the embed code.

Screengrab of a simple mobile survey page5. Drop a meta tag in the <head> to set a viewport. Something like: <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=320, initial-scale=.9″> I have not touched HTML much recently but viewport is not tough to understand and works on Android as well.

6. Set the iFrame width to 320 (or etc for your phone) and the trim the height to make it as short as possible, without losing the bottom of any page.

7. Test and adjust the viewport width or scale as appropriate.

8. Keep in mind this approach is not the most elegant use of a viewport, but my goal was iPhone specific so I was satisfied to hard-code these settings into the page.

9. Once you finish tweaking, you should end up with a decent looking mobile form, as pictured here, without the need to pinch-zoom every page constantly.

10. Suggest to Google that mobile-friendly themes would be great.

Seven mobile trends to watch in 2012

Arguing Apple vs Android and apps vs web is fun, but so 2011. So, thinking about 2012, a handful of mobile trends are worth tracking:

  1. Transactions/Authentication (NFC , Square etc.)
  2. External sensors and connected devices (Bluetooth 4.0/Internet of Things)
  3. Voice (Siri vs Google)
  4. Presence (Moving beyond check-ins)
  5. Home Hub (Airplay, HDMI outputs, home controls)
  6. Connected cars (3G-enabled, streaming Internet replacing AM/FM etc.)
  7. 4G (Speed changes behavior)

I am collecting links on these and other mobile topics on Delicious.

Living in the cloud

I did not realize how much I loved the cloud until this week.

This is my last week @Poynter, and I spent part of the day clearing off my work MacBook Pro to hand in.

The process is typically a major pain. Words docs, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, music, and email all need to be found and saved onto external hard drives or thumb drives and reconstructed on a new machine. I still have Zip disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs and even a Syquest disk laying around from previous migrations.

But this time: painless.

Most of my working documents are in DropBox. All of my email and calendars (personal and work) are stored in various Google Apps accounts. The majority of my news reading is done via RSS feeds stored in Google Reader. Firefox is syncing my bookmarks (somewhere) but I use Delicious and Instapaper in most cases anyway. All of my notes and to-dos are in Evernote. Almost every photo I have taken in the past year is still on my iPhone – a few are on Facebook, Flickr and Instagram. When traveling I watch movies on Netflix and TV via Slingbox. And, Twitter is what it is.

In fact music is the only real cloud hold-out for the moment, though I have that backed-up to Amazon’s Cloud Drive and an external drive at home just in case.

Scanning the laptop – the only files actually saved locally are applications and random downloads that could be deleted. The entire process took about 20 minutes, and I can walk away fairly confident I am not leaving behind anything I am going to need later.

And – bonus points – most of the apps I use on the laptop have iPhone/iPad equivalents. So despite being without a computer for the next few days I am barely going to notice. Actually, I would be much more distressed if I lost my phone for the weekend.

Sure Amazon’s cloud crashed for three days last week. So far – the risk is worth it.