Media giant goes mobile.

Media powerhouse Gannett knows how to work fast and furious under deadline. Its recent challenge was to go mobile — transform its 900-plus publications, including the flagship USA TODAY®, from traditional printed formats into interactive, always-on digital media.

To help cross this digital divide, Gannett relies on Apple iPhone 3G. Gannett employees embraced iPhone and the company launched USA TODAY in the App Store, adding to Gannett’s ability to produce must-have news and information updated 24/7 for mobile users. iPhone has helped redefine how it delivers content and advertising to consumers.

As the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., Gannett is well aware of the changes happening in print publishing. And for the McLean, VA-based media giant, change brings opportunity. “The newspaper business is still a good business. We’re looking at how to get news and information to people in the way they want it, when they want it,” says Mark Morneau, Vice President of Information Technology.

To do that, Gannett is moving beyond print to digital content published around the clock for mobile consumers. “The news and information business has always been a 24-hour business, because we don’t control when news happens,” explains Morneau. “The technology is changing, and our business is really in a transformation. iPhone is making a lot of this transformation happen.”

The Mobile Newsroom

The introduction of iPhone in the corporate enterprise was instrumental in Gannett’s mobile transformation. Gannett IT supports Microsoft Exchange Server and Exchange ActiveSync, so employees can use iPhone to get secure access to essential business information, including push email and calendar. iPhone also gives them mobile access to Gannett’s global address list of 41,000 employees.

“I’m on iPhone from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., if not longer,” says Matt Jones, Vice President of Mobile Strategy and Operations, Gannett Digital. “The ability to access corporate email, my calendar, and address book on iPhone is absolutely critical.”

A key benefit for Gannett’s iPhone users is its network connectivity. “Being able to hop easily onto a corporate wireless network creates a rich user experience,” says Jones. Employees count on iPhone to download and easily read email attachments in PowerPoint, Excel, and Word, he notes. “iPhone brings a layer of flexibility that makes it a productive business device.”

America's Newspaper Delivered on iPhone

“We’ve seen mobile change everything. Now at any given time, I can browse and check information. iPhone allows you to see all the headlines from whatever news source is available. That is game-changing,” says Jennifer Carroll, Vice President and Senior Editor of Content One.

Because of the vast growing mobile audience, iPhone is a key part of Gannett’s mobile strategy. In December of 2008, Gannett launched its USA TODAY app, which garnered one million downloads in only 53 days.

The iPhone application capitalizes on the full suite of assets in USA TODAY, including the familiar color palette and sections. USA TODAY readers view headline stories categorized by News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech, and Travel topics. They also rely on iPhone and USA TODAY for live weather conditions, radar, and forecasts that take advantage of iPhone’s GPS capabilities, giving users customized feeds by location.

Readers can view the day’s best photos and play them back as a slideshow or send them via email on iPhone. Interactive features include Snapshots that allow users to vote on a poll question and see instant results sorted by their own city or state. “iPhone gives us the ability to bring the vibrancy of USA TODAY to a totally new audience,” says Jones.

Gannett found development of the USA TODAY application to be very straightforward. “The App Store ecosystem is seamless for developers, which makes it easy for a media company like ours to create great products and bring them to a customer base,” says Jones.

Maximizing Revenue

By delivering a customized view of USA TODAY to iPhone users, Gannett has created a loyal — and growing — audience who may have never picked up the newspaper. “We realize the more local, the more updated, and the more interactive we are with mobile content, the more we can connect with our audience,” says Carroll.

Access to the iPhone audience has unleashed advertising opportunities as well, creating new revenue potential for Gannett. The company, along with its subsidiary PointRoll, has developed the first mobile rich-media advertising for iPhone. The mobile ads are fully expandable and provide advanced features such as video tap-to-play, coupon downloads, integrated mapping technology, and user-initiated tap-to-call.

“iPhone presents a new business opportunity that allows our traditional print advertisers to extend into mobile and leverage that influential, affluent audience,” says Jones. “We are very pleased with the feedback we are getting from our users and advertisers. Developing for iPhone is a very bright future for us.”

Company Snapshot

  • Largest newspaper publisher in the U.S.
  • Based in McLean, VA
  • Produces more than 900 publications and 85 newspapers, including USA TODAY®
  • Operates 23 U.S. TV stations with Internet sites
  • Online U.S. Internet audience is 25.8 million
  • 41,500 employees worldwide
  • Annual revenue of $6.8 billion
  • USA TODAY iPhone application

“iPhone gives us the ability to bring the vibrancy of USA TODAY to a totally new audience.”

Matt Jones. Vice President of Mobile Strategy and Operations, Gannett Digital

“Our business is really in a transformation. iPhone is making a lot of this transformation happen.”

Mark Morneau. Vice President of Information Technology, Gannett

“We’ve seen mobile change everything. Now at any given time, I can browse and check. iPhone allows you to see all the headlines from whatever news source is available…that is game-changing.”

Jennifer Carroll. Vice President and Senior Editor, Content One