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MSM wants to bring us the news through mobile devices, but they are actively discouraging users from reading on mobile devices.

The Main Stream Media is frequently attempting to break into the mobile market in any way possible. We can see the horrendous deal they agreed to just to get on the Kindle. No one would agree to that sort of cut unless they were desperate. A recent post linked to on Twitter notes that out of 95% of consumers using their mobile phones to stay informed, 35% do so by reading a major newspaper. Why not more? I’m sure that if I had statistics handy, we could see that most of the people who read their news from a print product do so by reading major national outlets, ranging from Newsweek to the Wall Street Journal. Why is the same not true on mobile?

Person with PDA handheld device.

Image via Wikipedia

The reason is their feeds. Google’s mobile version of Google Reader [For some reason, that link doesn’t work in Chrome] can provide feed reading to pretty much any mobile phone, smart or not. Even on some smart phones (my Palm Centro for example) there is no better free alternative for a feed reader that integrates in everything that gReader can do. Having the ability to both share and save from my mobile device is a huge bonus. I suspect that most people who regularly use Google Reader, also do so on their mobile device, and if they don’t they use some form of RSS reader to consume news on their mobile device.

Now compare the RSS feeds of a few MSM outlets:

To the feeds of Technorati’s top five blogs:

Notice the difference? The MSM outlets have boring feeds that usually have little more than a lede and a link to the main article. All of the top blogs, with the exception of Engadget, provide a full feed, with images and the entire article (and, notably, sometimes advertisements). Even Engadget provides a decent chunk of text and some sort of visual cue.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m reading feeds on my phone the chance that I’m going to click through a link that provides me with that little information on the feed, or even bother subscribing to that feed, is low. This is a case where mobile readers use certain tools that MSM just cuts out of the loop. I don’t find the news by going to various websites, I find them in my reader, I share them in my reader, I get links from my reader.

My news ecology centers around RSS, both on my desktop and my phone. When MSM discriminates against feed readers by minimizing their content, they are taking themselves out of my mobile news reading behaviors and I’m sure that the same is true for many others. They are also decreasing potential sharing and reading overall.

If news organizations really want to dominate the mobile market the same way they did print, they need to unlock their feeds.

How do you read the news on your mobile phone?

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  1. aramzs on Wednesday 17, 2010

    Just a quick comments test.