Dorien Aerts takes a look at Flemish newspapers’ mobile efforts.
What kind of mobile internet services do newspapers in Flanders offer? Since the launch of the iPhone in Belgium a few weeks ago, the mobile internet has become a hot topic. It has ‘a face’ since then, and more and more people want to try it out. Here’s what’s being done…
De Standaard (publisher: Corelio)
One of Belgium’s quality papers, De Standaard has offered a mobile website to its readers since the 16th of June via m.standaard.be.
The service contains all kinds of news, from sports and politics to celebrity updates. Apart from that, the mobile website offers the weather forecast and up to date traffic information.
De Tijd (publisher: De Persgroep)
De Tijd focuses on financial news. It delivers daily news, currencies and the reader’s personal ‘investment wallet’ via the mobile internet.
Subscribers to the newspaper get a little extra: they have access to the archive (beginning 1998) and can search it, just like they can on the regular website.
De Tijd also offers its mobile service via a website. Readers type tijd.be and the website automatically adapts to the screen of the cellphone.
Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen (publisher: Concentra)
Locally oriented newspapers Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen offer a mobile website as well. Via www.hbvl.be/palmnieuws/, Belgian, sports, society, cultural and international news is provided. At 2 and 5 pm the news is updated.
Not a surprise
Other newspapers in Flanders like Het Laatste Niews, De Morgen and Het Nieuwsblad, aren’t offering a mobile internet service (yet).
It is not a surprise however that the other four newspapers examined here are ahead of the game.
De Standaard has always been ahead in the Belgian news market when it comes to innovation. The newspaper was the first to introduce blogs on its website and work with bloggers.
Moreover, they offer a very user-friendly website combining text, pictures and video. Editor in chief Peter Vandermeersch says: “We are a news label. On paper and on the computer. Now we are also on your mobile phone.”
Financial newspaper De Tijd has a highly educated readership, interested in financial news and familiar with mobile technology. A small step, in other words, to introduce their customers to mobile services.
As for the local newspapers Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen: publisher Concentra has always been known as an innovative company, introducing their mobile internet website years ago. In a Dutch article on frankwatching earlier this week it was pointed out that the local media are often the most innovative.
The mobile websites of De Standaard and De Tijd offer more than news. De Standaard’s up to date traffic information may not really be relevant when behind your computer, yet it becomes very interesting when you are on the road with your cellphone.
De Tijd offering personal investments wallets via the mobile internet means quite an added value as well. It saves readers time (they can check it everywhere) and they are always up to date about their investments.
No newspaper has chosen the mobile widget path yet, and localisation or personalisation services also haven’t been introduced.
Do newspapers in other countries offer similar mobile services? Are they ahead of Flemish newspapers?
Nice to see an update from Belgium in OJB. Good overview and really interesting.
You wonder why not more publications reach out to heir readers via mobile… If a little niche blog like mine can do it (we have been mobile for a few years now) then why does it take so long for major newsgroups to port their content…?
Nowadays it is so easy to really apply what I call “platform independent publishing” through RSS distribution… From text to HTML to MP3 to RSS to mobile, it can all be done automatically and with great results…
Again, thanks for the overview, I’ll circulate here at the office for reference.