The Journal of Business has become more mobile, and it's taking additional steps to increase its mobility further.
On Aug. 1, the Journal launched a mobile website that enables subscribers to read the newspaper more easily on a smartphone. With the same log-in credentials used to access stories on the website, subscribers now have a more user-friendly version of the site at their fingertips. One always could access spokanejournal.com from a phone, of course; it's just much easier to navigate and read now.
We're excited to be adding new ways to get that news in your hands, regardless of whether you're at home, in the office, or on the road. Early indications are that our readers are equally as enthusiastic about the availability of such a service. Analytics indicate that use of the mobile site has been brisk through its first couple of weeks, and overall traffic to spokanejournal.com has increased noticeably.
For us, this validates the move to an easier-to-access mobile site and suggests pent-up demand for such tools.
Now, we're considering the next step: an electronic replica of our entire newspaperall stories, pictures, and advertisements just as they appear in the print edition. This "e-edition" would be available on any computer browser, but perhaps more importantly on iPhones, iPads, and some other devices through mobile browsers and the Journal's own mobile application, which would be available for download through Apple's app store. We don't have a launch date yet for the e-edition, but it could be available to subscribers as early as this fall.
For more than 25 years, the Journal has endeavored to deliver timely, accurate news about the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene business community. In return, we have been rewarded with loyal subscribers. Our market penetration, which is measured by the number of subscribers relative to the region's population, is one of the strongest among niche business publications in the U.S.
That said, we're not foolish enough to think we're immune to the trends that have affected all newspapers. In an era in which newspapers have had a prolonged period of declining subscribers and revenues, all publications must adapt. In large part, this requires papers to go where the readers are, which is increasingly online.
In some respects, going mobile is an attempt on our part to attract emerging professionals, those who might not have grown up in an environment where a printed newspaper was a primary source of information. Certainly, that's a big reason for this strategic move and a challenge for those of us in the newspaper industry. How does a publication reach those who not only don't subscribe, but might not even think to look to a newsprint publication for information that would help them succeed in business? Add to the mix the need to maintain profitability, and you've got a challenge most business owners wouldn't envy.
While the mobile upgrades are steps toward making that connection with emerging professionals, they also will serve the Journal's longtime readers well. To be sure, there's growing demand among the newspaper's current subscribers for mobile accessibility to the paper. In all likelihood, this is a direction we would be heading even if not faced with the generational shifts in behavior.
As our publisher will be quick to tell you, we know where our bread is buttered, so rest assured that these moves aren't intended to replace the print edition, but rather to supplement it and make the Journal easy to read regardless of where in the world one might be. For some time, the Journal has arrived in your mailbox every other Thursday. In the future, it'll increasingly be at your fingertips whenever you need it.
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