Smartphones have created a 'tornado' for news business

Ken Breen, Thomson Reuters’ managing consultant for consumer media, has likened the arrival of smartphones to a ‘journey from Kansas to Oz”, claiming that ‘we’re smack bang in the middle of a tornado at the moment.”

Speaking at Press Gazette’s News on the Move conference this week, Breen said: ‘We’re starting to make money from mobile, but we’re certainly not making as much as we want to.

‘It’s part and parcel of pretty much every commercial conversation we’re having at the moment, and if it isn’t we’re asking why.

‘I think in terms of the numbers we’ve had about 2.5m [app] downloads across the various different devices.

‘It’s where we need to be. There’s a huge amount of change within digital publishing. Mobile for us is something that I don’t think, if I’m being honest with you, we’ve really looked at historically.”

He added: ‘There’s still an awful long way to go.’

Asked whether the company would consider introducing an FT-style metered paywall accross its consumer facing free to air website www.reuters.com, he replied: ‘The answer is yes, quite possibly.’

He added: ‘At the moment we’ve decided we don’t want people paying for the consumer side of business but they still pay for other specialist stuff… we need to be thinking much the same way as the FT has been very adventurous and challenging in terms of commoditising they’re offering.”

But he added: “For the time being it’s not something we’re prepared to hang our hats on.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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