312,000 Daily Mobile Readers for Metro

Free newspaper publisher Metro has revealed that its global mobile daily audience now totals 312,000, out of a total daily readership of 3.6m readers every weekday across 50 cities.

The stat was one of a flurry of facts and figures revealed to Mobile Marketing at a media briefing this morning. The publisher also revealed that it has clocked up more than 1.2m downloads of its iPad and iPhone apps since they were launched in October 2011 and July 2012 respectively.

More than 514,000 readers who downloaded the apps have subscribed for app updates, and collectively, the apps have more than 406,000 monthly users. Metro also revealed that peak readership of the iPad edition is between 7am and 9am, and predominantly at home, rather than on the morning commute. Additionally, more than half of Metro’s email communications to its readers are now opened on mobile devices.

Metro used the briefing to announce a ramping up of its push into mobile. Editor Kenny Campbell  described the original print edition, launched in 2009 as “the original mobile product”, targeting consumers on the move. A universal Android version of the app will launch “within days”. There will also be Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD editions before Christmas, and Windows 8 and BlackBerry 10 versions next year. In addition, a mobile-optimised version of the Metro website goes live on 5 December.

The site, which will run off the same WordPress VIP-powered responsive design content management system as the full Metro site, will offer swipe-to-navigate functionality, which Metro product development director Jamie Walters said is the first site to do so. On older Android devices where the functionality will not work, there will be a click-to-swipe alternative. Advertisers will be able to fun full page interstitial ads between the editorial content as the user swipes.

Walters said also that Metro would be enhancing the mobile offering with a number of platform agnostic features, including interactive puzzles and games, video walls, enhanced social sharing, and personalised, geo-targeted push notifications, powered by Urban Airship.

He said also that publisher would be looking to replicate this summer’s activity where, for the duration of the Olympics, it produced a second edition of the iPad issue in the evening, with updates on results and winners. Walters said the publisher would continue to curate the content, so that the tablet edition had a beginning and an end, but that readers would be given the option of updating the content during the day.

Explaining the decision to launch the tablet app more than a year ahead of the mobile-optimised site, Walters said the two projects had in fact run concurrently, but that the tablet app had been easier to deliver. “The Pressrun system we used to create the apps enabled us to move faster,” Walters said. “The development process for the apps and the site ran in parallel, but it was a much tougher challenge to migrate to WordPress and put responsive design in.”