Global round-up: 70 pc lift in US mobile news site use

Global round-up:  70 pc lift in US mobile news site use

The number of Americans accessing news exclusively on their mobile phones or tablets jumped more than 70 per cent in the year to January, according to data from comScore cited by the Newspaper Association of America.

The data also shows that the combined digital audience for American newspapers is 173 million people, which is up almost 20 per cent in the same year.

Among the people who only access newspapers on mobile platforms, women aged 18-24 experienced the greatest increase, soaring 155 per cent over that period.

Despite the growth, digital platforms remain a challenge for publishers. In 2013, which is the most recent year from which the association is able to access data, only 14.5 per cent of total ad revenue came from digital.

News Corp expands footprint in India

News Corp has bought Indian digital media company VCCircle, which covers the country’s technology and business sphere.

The global publisher already had its foot in the door, with The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones and HarperCollins all having strong penetration in India.

In November, News Corp bought 25 per cent of an Indian real estate website, PropTiger.com, for US$30 million. Soon afterwards the company bought BigDecisions.com, a financial decision-making aid.

Morgan Stanley recently predicted the Indian economy would grow 6.5 per cent over the next year, making it the fastest expanding economy in Asia.

“For the past decade, we have built a strong franchise with proprietary data, information, content and networking capabilities around India’s digital business world,” VCCircle founder P.V. Sahad said.

“Being a part of News Corp will now allow us to accelerate our already aggressive growth plans.”

VCCircle has around 100 employees across India.

Filmmakers sought by The New York Times for native advertising

The New York Times, which has been a native advertising pioneer, is calling on filmmakers to submit their work for a chance to make native ads for the media company.

Native ads are created by the T Brand Studio unit, and a new program known as “The Selects” would offer successful applicants “spotlight branded placement within The New York Times website where your work could live,” according to the website.

“This is also a chance to create high-quality work throughout the year for some of the world’s biggest brands.”

Previous pieces of native advertising created by T Brand Studio include the three-part Orange Is The New Black tie-in focused on women in prison, widely applauded for its interest level and lack of explicit commercial messaging, a partnership with Volvo exploring crash tests, and a collaboration with the New York City Ballet looking at the day-to-day lives of ballerinas.

Applicants must not be represented by an agency or production company, and must have previous experience in advertising work.

Spyware used to target Ethiopian journalists

The Ethiopian government has used spyware for digital attacks on Ethiopian journalists based overseas, according to Human Rights Watch.

The Citizen Lab research centre, based in Toronto, reported efforts by the government of Ethiopia to hack into the computers of Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) accounts based in the US.

The government is also known to have targeted ESAT employees in 2013. ESAT is an independent television and radio station.

Human Rights Watch says it believes the Ethiopian government is suppressing independent media because of the upcoming general elections in May.  At least 22 professional and citizen journalists and publishers have been charged with a crime.

“Ethiopia’s government has over the past year intensified its assault on media freedom by systematically trying to silence journalists,” Human Rights Watch senior Internet researched Cynthia Wong said.

ESAT is popular among Ethiopians trying to avoid state-run media.

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