25% of publications to go digital in 5 years

Ebook and mobile tech to kill a quarter of all paper publications, say publishers
Ebook and mobile tech to kill a quarter of all paper publications, say publishers

A survey by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has found that publishers predict a quarter of all newspapers and magazines will be available in a digital form only, within five years.

Despite this, only just over half (55 per cent) believe that digital delivery of their publication is important to their own strategic future.

They're far more enthusiastic about mobile technology, with 80 per cent expecting phones, MIDs and e-book readers to become primary sources for news in the next three years.

iPhone to replace newspapers?

Over half of the publishers surveyed said that they have plans to develop a smartphone application in the next 24 months, in addition to the 17 per cent of respondents who already have an app in production. Nearly 70 per cent of respondents agree that mobile is receiving more attention at their publication this year than last.

Publishers are starting to look at different ways of funding their content, with more than half of those surveyed believing that the future business model of mobile content will be supported by both advertising and subscriptions, and a third expecting mobile to have a significant impact on their revenue over the next three years.

For all the enthusiasm over new technology, not all publishers are moving online and mobile at the same speed: two thirds of companies interviewed admitted that they did not have a well-developed plan for attacking and conquering the mobile market.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.