KEY POINTS 

  • Consumers are spending more time than ever consuming digital media on mobile devices. In June 2015, mobile accounted for two out of every three minutes spent consuming digital media in the US, according to comScore. Millennials, in particular, focus their time on social platforms on mobile devices. 
  • Mobile users are choosing mobile apps to consume digital media. In 2014, mobile apps surpassed desktop as the leading digital media usage platform. This June, total time spent consuming digital media via mobile apps reached close to 779 billion minutes, vs. nearly 551 billion minutes on PCs. 
  • Facebook's Instant Articles and Snapchat's Discover allow partnering publishers to directly reach growing audience bases with native content, while Twitter's Moments is less of a purpose-built distribution channel. Media companies create platform-specific content that looks native to Facebook and Snapchat, while Twitter's Moments aggregates into one place news content already being pushed on the platform. 
  • Mobile news apps are on the rise. Stand-alone news apps from huge technology companies, including Apple News and Facebook's Notify, independent news apps such as Flipboard and Next Issue's Texture, as well as publishers' own news apps are all vying to win over audiences and become the go-to place for news on mobile.
  • Alternative distribution channels are essential for publishers trying to reach growing mobile audiences, but they are not without drawbacks. The rise of alternative mobile distribution channels may result in a loss of ad revenue and content control. 

Introduction

Millennials are hooked to their mobile devices, spending more time than ever connected to smartphone screens. Mobile devices have become the go-to platform for consuming digital media. As readers spend more time consuming media on mobile devices and less time buying newspapers, magazines, or reading on desktop computers, publishers are being forced to adapt their distribution strategies to align with the mobile shift.  

In this report, BI Intelligence will examine how both traditional and digital publishers are adjusting their strategies in the face of rapidly increasing mobile media consumption. We also discuss the role of social platforms in driving a growing share of publishers' referral traffic, focusing on the leading platforms and mobile apps that offer publishers an avenue for reaching mobile audiences: Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover, Twitter Moments, and the Apple News app. Finally, we will address how the continued mobile shift has the potential [...]