Publishers Cite Tablets As Top Tech Priority

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Publishers are making tablets a top priority when it comes to technology development this year. About 60% of business-to-business and business-to-consumer publishers cited tablets, mobile publishing and/or new Web products as a “high priority," according to a new survey by the Software & Information Industry Association.

Other types of projects were not mentioned nearly as widely.

About four in 10 (42%) of the 85 publishers surveyed by the SIIA named licensing and syndication as a key area of focus this year, while 19% cited video.

The study found that B2C companies tend to prioritize tablet publishing above all else, while their B2B counterparts put the creation of new Web-based offerings slightly above mobile and tablet publishing.

When it comes to management’s perspective, C-level and VP-level executives are more focused on tablets than director-level company officers, suggesting that the former are looking further ahead than less senior managers. An even bigger divide was seen between sales and marketing employees. Only one-quarter of sales staffers mentioned tablets as high priority, compared to 70% of those in company marketing departments.

Salespeople tended to heavily favor Web-based publishing, with three-quarters rating online efforts a top consideration. When it comes to mobile platforms, the vast majority (68%) are currently publishing on the iPad and 58% on the iPhone. Android-based phones and tablets have attracted only 38% and 35% of publishers, respectively, to date.

Just 17% have created apps using Facebook’s Open Graph, and 16% have created content tailored to the Kindle. But since Facebook has only recently begun expanding Open Graph to new types of apps, and the Kindle Fire was launched last November, those figures are likely to increase.

At the MPA Digital: Swipe conference Tuesday, keynote speaker Paul Verna, a senior analyst at eMarketer, encouraged magazine publishers to extend content to tablets to generate new revenues as the print business will have flat-to-negative growth in the next five years. “The only thing more challenging than digital monetization is print monetization,” he said. eMarketer projects that more than a quarter (27.7%) of Americans will use tablets by 2014, up from almost 11% in 2011.

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