A wake up call for brands, agencies and publishers

The way people read magazines has undergone a fundamental transformation over the last few years, with growing numbers now choosing to read their favourite titles on a tablet or smartphone.

The problem is that this relatively sudden shift in consumer behaviour has caught publishers off guard, with a recent report from Monotype Imaging revealing the shocking news that 93% of the top 100 consumer magazines have no cross-platform offering. Worse, only 25% of those publishing on iPad were fully optimised for any tablet.

So what is behind this situation and what should brands, agencies and publishers be doing about it?

It’s not down to technology. The tools are readily available to create cross-platform content and advertising. The issue is that many publishers are reluctant to embrace them. Too many are steeped in legacy, print-centric processes that are preventing them from jumping in to deliver the mobile experiences their readers increasingly expect. But they’re running out of time. As mobile increasingly becomes their readers’ platform of choice, the move into mobile publishing is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.

So how can content owners go truly cross-platform without simply scaling the creative of their product and rendering it unintelligible on smaller screen sizes?

The simple answer is in responsive design and the use of technologies that truly embrace its core principles. Today no technology does this better than HTML5.

Responsive design is a web design approach that ensures content is presented in a way that provides the optimal viewing experience no matter what device the content is accessed from, with the layout automatically adjusting for any device’s screen.

This is far from a panacea though.

All this responsive content has to be delivered to devices in a way that is appropriate to any given platform, while providing the best possible user experience. The only true way to do this today is still through the use of native apps. So we need to take the best of both worlds, using responsive HTML for content delivery but displayed to the reader in a native ‘container’ that provides the optimum user experience. The result is an absolutely superb reading experience, whether it’s editorial or advertising content.

Crucially for publishers, responsive HTML means any platform their customers are using can be supported by a single editorial process.

This is because it’s the same page being delivered to every device, which simply arranges itself in the most appropriate manner for the screen size and orientation.

Suddenly, publishers’ understandable nervousness of mobile publishing is calmed. With a single editorial process they can make sure their content is available to all their readers, across any device, to the same level of quality they’ve always demanded of their print products.

It’s time to make the move. Your readers won’t accept your excuses for much longer.

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