Plot­ting Our Own Mo­bile Revo­lu­tion

Forbes - - Inside Scoop - By LEWIS D’VORKIN

I so dis­like In­ter­net jar­gon, even though I’m guilty of re­sort­ing to it. The most an­noy­ing cur­rent phrase is: Mo­bile First. It’s stan­dard fare in press re­leases. It’s thrown around at in­dus­try events with pomp and blus­ter. It’s the go-to sound bite to hype a strate­gic di­rec­tion—even if stafing and con­tent plans to back it up are nonex­is­tent. So far, the best of Mo­bile First neatly squeezes desk­top news for­mats into smaller de­vices. Well, the time has fnally come—at least for us. We’re de­ter­mined to pave a new path for­ward.

Our goal is to turn mo­bile into a way of do­ing busi­ness across our com­pany. Mo­bile ad spend­ing, af­ter a steady march to par­ity with the desk­top, is about to surge ahead. Desk­top’s long reign as the dig­i­tal money ma­chine for pub­lish­ers will soon be over. The mo­bile/mil­len­nial jug­ger­naut will see to that. And that’s only half the story. Face­book’s mo­bile ad dol­lars ac­count for 75% of its to­tal rev­enue, suck­ing busi­ness from ev­ery­one. If that’s not enough, here comes IOS 9, which makes ad block­ing a fear­ful re­al­ity on phones, too.

As the trends be­came clear, we be­gan to plot our mo­bile fu­ture. Here’s a pre­view of where we’re headed: • An ac­cel­er­a­tor unit that drives a mo­bile prod­uct ethos with de­vel­op­ers, data sci­en­tists and a range of ed­i­to­rial roles. • A quick-load­ing con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence that ac­counts for mo­bile at­ten­tion spans and con­sump­tion habits. • Design and for­mats that rec­og­nize so­cial net­works will be the main driver of au­di­ence growth mov­ing for­ward. • Fea­tures fo­cused on shar­ing, sav­ing, video and difer­ent forms of im­pulse par­tic­i­pa­tion. • An ad model that lever­ages our Brand­voice na­tive ad pro­gram, now with 100 mar­ket­ing part­ners across dig­i­tal and print.

FORBES is ap­proach­ing a sig­nif­cant an­niver­sary. The com­pany pub­lished its frst mag­a­zine nearly 100 years ago. The last 5 years brought par­tic­u­larly swift and dra­matic change: the frst non­fam­ily mem­ber CEO; the tran­si­tion from a web­site to a pub­lish­ing plat­form; ris­ing mag­a­zine read­er­ship when all print was counted out; a fo­cus on youth­ful en­trepreneurs. And a year ago came the sale of the com­pany to Asian in­vestors with am­bi­tious plans for growth in that re­gion. Now comes our own mo­bile revo­lu­tion—and maybe some day Mo­bile Only for Mo­bile Na­tives. Jar­gon be­comes less an­noy­ing if it’s yours.

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