Wednesday, 30 October 2013

SUM IT UP! Mobile media concepts in Finland

In a recent blog post I have written about the digital ecosystem and service design for mobile media concepts. In Finland about 60% of the population has a smartphone and among young students (born between 1983 and 1993) at Åbo Akademi University the percentage is as high as 86. Out of those representatives for Generation Y already 27% have a tablet and the 'heavy users' spend more than 3 hours a day on the tablet with different media content. It's hard to get exact figures, but approx. 1 million Finns have access to a tablet in their household (about 20% of total population). And naturally most people have a laptop or a PC at home.

It's against this background we see the use of mobile news services grow in our country. Whilst the evening newspapers Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti top the charts for mobile news together with the leading daily Helsingin Sanomat, we are clearly seeing a trend towards new media concepts specifically designed for the mobile devices. 

SUMMA is a brand new concept with content published by Talentum, and designed as a media service. Talentum's core activities include publishing media and literature for professionals of various fields and organizing topical training and other events. Books, magazines and events focus on content from professionals in all walks of life from business information, HR, health care, legal, and marketing to information technology and private investments. It's leading titles include the weekly 'Talouselämä' (business) and 'Tekniikka & Talous' (technology and economic trends), as well as 'Arvopaperi' (private investment) and 'M&M' (marketing and advertising). As a professional book publisher Talentum publishes a vast number of titles. SUMMA sums this all up in one service, with a Spotify-like pricing model at 69.50€/month including access to all books, magazines and online content. The responsive design of the service allows easy access online and on a smartphone or tablet.

What's nice about the UI design it's clean and easy to navigate on any device. You can customize the topics and titles you're interested in and it also allows to get a glimpse of all content published by Talentum at one glance. According to CEO Aarne Aktan, the service is intended to be a gateway to all content of interest to those who are currently perhaps subscribing to only one specific title. 

There are several price points for those not opting for the all-in, which to my mind is rather expensive. By subscribing to one title you get all of its content and limited access to other content as well at the price for the title you have chosen. The price for a single magazine and its online content is 16.90$/month. If you subscribe to three titles you get all the content for 29.90$/month. By paying 20€/month you can get access to all books, and you can download them in e.g. iBooks and order printed books through an on-demand service to your home or office address. Easy access and flexible pricing according to your needs is to my mind one key to success. This is quite a novel concept and is not offered by any other publisher in Finland yet.

The Business Model is based on content, however, it seems obvious that content marketing is well suited for those interested in certain topics like e.g. HR development or legal information. Aarne Aktan commented in the interview that "banners are banned" - let's wait and see what happens next with regard to advertising services on the SUMMA platform. Customer data and utilizing different user profiles should be a key to success in advertising sales and I would expect to see more of this in the next few months. SUMMA was only released on October 18, so the service will certainly be tweaked on the go. It's really inspiring to see a new media service being launched in Finland and I trust there will be more information available about its usage and success in the new year.

Another 'new' service that has now been redesigned is Teknari. Teknari is a true innovator in digital publishing on both tablets and computers. It is a publishing concept launched already 3 years ago, just when the first iPad was out in the market (in fact before it came on sale in Finland). Teknari is a startup, and according to CEO Sami Kalsi they are fulfilling a dream to provide a media service based on content available on new technology platforms. Teknari has its focus on cars and consumer electronics, with rich media content including car reviews and news about new products like smartphones, tablets and related consumer technology. The biweekly tablet 'magazine' is complemented by the website with online news and a program on MTV3, as well as the Teknari channel on YouTube. Tests and reviews are extensive and cover a wide number of gadgets: pictured below is the review of the new iPhone 5c and 5S featured in the September issue. 

Teknari's Business Model is based on advertising on the tablet and it sells its content to MTV3 for the TV program. Last spring Teknari experimented with 'paid content', however, they are now back to the original business model with free content. You can download the Teknari app on an iPad (the app is for free on App Store). Android tablets can be used to read the HTML beta-version. Teknari are working on a responsive design for smartphones, which will be launched in the near future. Advertising is utilizing the advantages of the tablet, where they are providing a platform for interactive advertisements providing a rich media experience for the user. The tablet application has been downloaded on more than 85,000 devices and the Flash-magazine on the website gets 100,000-150,000 unique visitors for each issue. The number of active users varies for each issue, for instance for the above issue the aggregate number of unique users of the tablet app and website was 122,527. This can be compared with the circulation of Finnish car magazines that range from approx. 25,000 to 120,000 for Teknari's competitors in print, according to Publishing Director Minna Tuomisto. 

At the time of the writing of this blog post EDGE research group is cooperating with Teknari in studying users. Together with Teknari staff EDGE researchers plan to go deeper and below the surface in studying reader experiences. We are combining our experience and competence within consumer research with experts on usability and user experience, i.e. our colleagues at MediaCity. The collaboration and multi-method model will deliver in-depth knowledge of Teknari users and most important, added value to Teknari about the readers. We also believe that people, who enrich their lives through technology and forerunning digital media services as Teknari are motivated to contribute in improving these services even further. The results of the user study will be wrapped-up before the end of the year, and will certainly give valuable information to both the publisher and the advertisers. We have been quite lucky to recruit a good number of Teknari users who were eager to put Teknari to the test. We will keep you posted on further news about this study on the EDGE website.

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