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As more and more people access news across multiple platforms, 69 per cent of publishers now focus on the mobile web as an area for development, according to the Content and Trends Census released by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) today.

The research also revealed that the majority of publishers (74 per cent) had already optimised their websites to work across a range of mobile devices, and 90 per cent of them were looking at designing responsive sites.


“Publishing as an industry is moving quite well ahead of the curve, generally," said Tim Cain, Managing Director of AOP, speaking at the AOP Autumn Conference today, "in the sense that three quarters of publishers have the majority of their sites mobile optimised.”

As 60 per cent of publishers surveyed by the AOP reported they worry about having the right skills at their disposal to develop the right strategy, what does optimising for mobile mean for publishers?

John Barnes, managing director, digital and tech, at Incisive, told the conference delegates the general attitude towards mobile is wrong. He said people looking at content on mobile devices were increasingly using a broadband connection to do so rather than a 3G connection.

“So really what we're talking about is different screen sizes not necessarily [just] mobile devices,” he said.

Paul Rowlinson, chief operating officer at Mindshare, said some publishers think of mobile too much as an “annex” to the rest of their output, with separate teams and specialists.

“The key thing with mobile is to make it feel like it's part of the whole,” he said.

AOP’s Census also revealed how the focus on online video is growing in the industry, with 56 per cent of respondents saying mobile video was an opportunity for growth on mobile and tablets.

But with this opportunity also comes a number of challenges, and News UK’s director of advertising strategy Abba Newbery, says it is important to figure out not just how video can work for publishers, but also to deliver what the audience expects from a specific media organisation.

“We are a newspaper and that's what readers expect of us,” he said. “The requirements of our newspaper readers are very different when it comes to video. 

“So if you take our investment in Premiership goal clips, Times readers want to watch those clips as part of the review of the game."

She said the audience of The Times prefers to watch the videos the following day despite the organisation making them available live.

“Sun readers want the goals now, live on their mobile,” she said. “It's [about] understanding where video is appropriate for us, but also how you create the right video experience that’s right for a newspaper.”

The AOP surveyed 32 organisations as part of this research, a number which represents 1500 media outlets.

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