Like all other sectors, the media industry has been impacted by digital transformation too. From newspapers to news channels to over the top content (OTT), the entire industry is undergoing a rehaul. The digital changes are being led by changing consumer expectations and the need for instant access to content on any device, anywhere. The addition of various social channels and streaming services to gain information or entertainment has added to the woes of traditional media.
Be it a news site, a magazine, or a news aggregator app, everyone has to transform digitally to provide the best user experience and optimize their revenue using the web.
But there are several key challenges that users face while accessing news or media sites on their devices.
- Stiff competition from social media sites and apps which are important sources of news
- Overload of content from all channels and very little time to consume it
- On a smaller device, ads can seem disruptive and reduce user engagement
- Slow loading times of news sites, especially when the number of concurrent users is high
- Limited or zero access in slow networks
- News/media apps are typically heavy and use up too much device storage
As a result of these user challenges, many news websites and media apps faced some of these usage issues:
- High bounce rate
- Uninstallation of apps
- Reduced engagement
- Lower page views
- Poor average session times
- Low intake of ads and lower conversion
These poor engagement and content consumption rates mean that media/news apps are no longer efficient from the business standpoint.
The Solution - PWA
With Progressive Web Apps, there rose a new era of content dissemination and consumption. The PWA standard is a media company’s dream. It enhances reader access to the latest articles and helps them share the trending stories seamlessly between channels and touchpoints.
Here are some key reasons why PWA is ideal for a media/news app:
- Compatibility with browsers/devices
- Full responsiveness
- Offline access through flaky internet service
- Interaction and navigation exactly like a native app
- Use of push notifications for user re-engagement
- No need to download the app
- Ease of sharing with links
Here are some top examples of media apps that benefited immensely from a PWA transition
1. Voot lite
Voot is one of India's most popular video-on-demand products. It is available as both a native app and a mobile web app. Voot has close to 35,000 hours of premium content online, with exclusive shows from TV networks and about 8000 videos for children.
- Mobile is the primary device for content consumption for Voot
- Limited storage for native apps
- Most users on 2G and 3G networks making data transfer expensive
- Slow loading times led to abandonment even before the streaming began
To address these and other challenges, Voot successfully launched a Progressive Web App. Their PWA reported session time per user increased by 39% within days of launching and an increase in daily views per user by 15%. Here are the key benefits:
- 39% increase in session time per user
- 80% reduction in page load time
- 19% decrease in bounce rate
- 77% boost in conversion from visitor to the video viewer
- 15% rise in average daily video views per user
2. The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel is a highly acclaimed and popular channel that has been forecasting since the 1980s. It now serves people globally on many platforms. The weather.com website has high traffic from across the world and is a top-2) site in use. On average, it serves up to 40 billion forecast requests per day.
- A large population now accesses weather information on the mobile web
- The Weather Channel pushes important information to their native app users daily
- Yet, a large number of visits come not from the app, but the mobile web
- Mobile web is also important for areas with low connectivity or demographics that don’t use the latest smartphone
- Browser push notifications were a key requirement to send urgent weather updates or warnings
- The goal was also to re-engage mobile users who didn’t download the app but were likely to hit by severe weather
The Weather Channel opted for a progressive web app to solve these key challenges. The PWA helped in relaying important weather information to people globally in their local language. With PWA, they could also support over 60 languages using a single code base.
A different approach:
- Implemented push notifications for mobile users on Android and desktop users on Chrome to scale quickly
- The experience was similar to a native app and worked even if the browser wasn’t running(using service workers)
- 1 million users opted-in to receive push notifications within three months with 52 percent from mobile
- 80% improvement in load time after PWA launch
- Rolled out progressive web apps in 178 countries, serving 62 languages.
Forbes is a well-known American business magazine portal that features articles and news on technology, finance, marketing, investment, and other business-relevant topics. Forbes is also famous for its lists featuring the richest people on earth. The Forbes 400 is the list of the richest people in the USA. The Forbes 500 is a list of the largest companies in the world.
Forbes was facing challenges with their native web app and were looking to rebrand their mobile web.
- Poor page load speeds
- High bounce rate and abandonment rate
- Wanted an element of personalization
- Needed a mobile web solution that worked with sparse internet networks on a variety of devices
The Forbes mobile PWA is hailed as a massive success story:
- New PWA site loads in an average of 0.8 seconds
- Increased user engagement by 100%
- 43% increase in sessions per user
- 3x increase in scroll depth
- Ad views increased by 20%
- Highly visual and personalized content
- Push notifications for Android devices
- Introduced story format called cards where users can swipe through any content
- Reduction in average app size from webpages from 2MB to 30KB
Other well-known examples of successful PWAs in the media industry include Twitter, Pinterest, Medium, Flipboard, Financial Times, and Smashing Magazine.
Most media companies compete for the attention of a highly mobile, smart user who uses devices and is often on the go. PWA eliminates the restrictions of storage, network connectivity issues, application download, poor page load speed, and provides fast, easy and reliable access. This translates into better retention, higher engagement, and ultimately better monetization opportunities for the media app.