Now Newspapers Can Count Their Mobile Audiences, Too


One of the world’s leading newspaper auditors has added mobile phones to the list of mediums that it tracks, providing validation to the wireless industry, while also potentially giving publications a shot of new readers as traditional print audiences decline.

To do so, the interactive unit of the Audit Bureau of Circulations has partnered with Verve Wireless, which works with more than 600 newspaper publishers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Together, the two will be able to audit mobile applications, mobile browsers and even e-readers, like the iPad. Although the service will be limited to Verve’s clients, it marks the first official time the ABC (NYSE: DIS) has tracked mobile usage.

The audience size is not trivial. Verve said more than nine million readers accessed news from mobile devices using its publishing platform in March, jumping 243 percent compared to the prior year. In 2010, it expects to serve more than 2.2 billion mobile news pages. Separately, ABC said it found in a survey of member publications, that more than 80 percent said consumers would rely more heavily on mobile devices as a primary information source over the next three years.

A spokesperson for ABC said up until now it has not been tracking mobile, but some papers have been able to extract data from companies like Omniture (NSDQ: OMTR).

“With all the buzz around the iPad and with use of mobile browsers exploding, newspapers and their advertisers are increasingly interested in seeing mobile metrics detailed in ABC reports,” said Michael Lavery, ABC president and managing director, in a release.


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