As consumer reading preferences increasingly shift to mobile devices such as the iPad and smartphones, The Associated Press is looking for a means to harness the mobile medium's potentials by bringing circulars and coupon inserts to newspaper apps, AdAge.com reported today.
Tentatively called "iCircular," the app is currently being developed in collaboration with Verve Wireless and will work in conjunction with the AP's white-label app platform. Jane Seagrave, senior vice president and chief revenue officer at the AP confirmed its development, but declined to provide any further information saying, "the development process wasn't far enough along," according to AdAge. Member publishers can also publish apps under their own brand with the help of this application.
"Ad circulars ... are extremely important to almost every newspaper," James Moroney, CEO and publisher at the Dallas Morning News was quoted as saying by AdAge. "With the decline of classified print advertising, as far as printed newspaper ad-revenue categories go, it is, if not the largest for a lot of papers, always going to be one of the two or three largest categories."
With circulars and coupon inserts playing a pivotal role towards contribution to newspaper revenue in print, and considering its popularity with advertisers and consumers, Kunur Patel and Nat Ives, AdAge writers, question if publishers will "migrate to rapidly proliferating digital coupon services - much like consumers began to turn to Craigslist and other sites for classifieds." They further stated that, "because many readers buy the print edition partly or largely for the coupons, coupon apps such as GroceryIQ and Yowza Mobile Coupons could undermine the popularity of newspapers - in print or in app form."
The AP isn't the only outlet trying to bring circulars and coupons to digital devices, Ad Age pointed out. The Toronto edition of Metro offers an iPhone app that lists an "mFlyer," for "mobile flier," among its regular news sections and then there is Zip2Save, the digital couponing service created by Suburban Newspapers of America.
Publishers are increasingly focusing on app development. For example, last week, Hearst Magazines appointed an app ad director for its tablet operations in time for the October launch of its applications "think tank," called The App Lab. Just days earlier, Microsoft launched its Advertising Exchange for Mobile, in which it claims to be the industry's first platform designed to sell mobile ad inventory via a real-time, auction bidding model.