Mobile monetization report: iPad apps are where the news bread is buttered

By Carmel DeAmicis , written on June 18, 2014

From The News Desk

A new report out from App Annie finds that the iPad is the real money winner for news organizations. To wit, 80 percent of the top ten news apps’ iOS revenue came from iPads instead of iPhones.

The news comes as little surprise as, despite declining sales growth the iPad is still an ideal way to consume content. Studies have shown that people spend more time reading articles when doing so on a tablet versus of a smartphone. Furthermore, consumers are willing to spend more for content they read on a tablet versus a smartphone.

It’s a key finding during a time when news organizations are pouring more resources into apps, adding sophistication, while simultaneously struggling to monetize via mobile. As readers increasingly shift to mobile consumption, mobile monetization is crucial nut for news organizations to crack. Based on this most recent report, media organizations looking to drum up mobile revenue would be wise to offer in-app purchases or premium features that are specifically designed for a tablet experience.

For the news apps that do it right, tablet monetization could be a significant source of revenue. The New York Times iPad app, for example, ranked in the overall top ten in terms of monetizaiton for all non-game iOS apps during the six months from September 2013 to February 2014.

Also within the App Annie report we learn that while iOS news apps generate more money, Android news apps generate more downloads. That fits the overall trend of Google Play beating iOS in downloads in non-news related apps, given that almost 80 percent of the smartphone marketplace is Android. But in the news category the trend is particularly slanted with 75 percent of the top news app downloads coming from Android.

There's no clear playbook as to how to transition revenue from print to Web to mobile, but data like that available on App Annie offers valuable clues. But if anything's clear, it's that as the media industry hemorrhages cash (and jobs) the shift to mobile is no longer a trend publishers can afford to ignore.

[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]