Enter the Age of Mobile Publishing

by Dan Blank on September 17, 2006

A quote from Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp:

“I believe that mobile could be one of the greatest media platforms ever created. It could rival television, the Internet and literally anything.”

I would have to agree with him. In an age where hospitals rely on just-in-time delivery of supplies in order to balance their budgets, space, and service needs, why will it be any different for consumers?

There are some services that are already moving to mobile devices quickly, like driving directions – and there has been much talk about advertising and coupons. Imagine walking down the toothpaste aisle in your local foodstore, and a Crest coupon pops onto your cell phone’s screen.

But what about news and information. Choosing between two sneakers at Foot Locker – why not pull up online reviews. Shopping for a new deadbolt at Home Depot – why not check out Consumer Reports’ opinion. About to buy a new iPod – why not checkout a Mac Rumors website to see if new product launches are imminent. You and your friends decide to go to the movies instead of the mall – check out reviews from around the web before wasting 3 hours and $20 each.

For news and information that is not of the consumer variety, mobile speaks to our increasingly multitasked lifestyle. With so much media pulling us in different directions, perhaps a reading revolution is awaiting all of those brief stolen moments that can be created if everyone had a palm-sized web browser, with content formatted for just this use.

I love my Blackberry for just this reason, but still feel like much of the web needs to look deeper into making their mobile versions more user friendly. Dave Winer’s river of news idea is a great step in this process, but I feel we have a lot further to go.

For those in the publishing industry feeling as though they are playing catch-up on the web, taking a serious look at mobile may get you to the front of the line before your competitors.

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