Editor’s note: This is one of 19 case studies featured in INMA’s strategic report “Smartphone App Lessons for Media Companies,” released in July.
At The Register-Guard, a regional daily newspaper in the state of Oregon (USA), the primary focus is on sports apps, with one for the Oregon Ducks basketball team of the University of Oregon and another for the university’s football team. Both apps were developed by an outside vendor, DoApp Inc., of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Register-Guard Web site has a responsive design that displays well on mobile, so developing a fully built-out news app has been a lower priority, though the media company is researching potential vendors and development options.
It currently offers an app that presents a digital replica of the print product (powered by its vendor Tecnavia), which is popular among Register-Guard print readers who access the iPad version while away from home, according to Tyler Mack, digital media director at The Register-Guard.
The Register-Guard is “behind the curve on developing our main news app,” Mack says, but that the company considers smartphone apps important to its overall marketing strategy and expects to expand its efforts around building a news app and to explore better usage of push notifications to engage readers.
The sports apps are free to download, but articles and blog posts linked on the apps are available through the Register-Guard’s mobile Web site, which uses its metered pay system. Further revenues come from advertising sponsorships of the apps, which are offered exclusively to a single advertiser.
The apps have been available for several years and offer “a one stop shop for all the coverage of Duck football and basketball teams,” Mack says.
The media company measures success for the sports apps based on total downloads and pageviews, and it monitors vendor costs and sponsorship revenues, as well as the costs of staff maintenance, though “these apps are pretty hands-off,” Mack says.
Limited development efforts have led to limited user data available through the apps, though he noted that many of the users are accessing the Register-Guard’s apps from outside its Oregon coverage area.