The Guardian is forecasting that by 2014 the number of people accessing its content on mobile will overtake those experiencing it on the desktop web, as readers increasingly switch to smartphones and tablets to read news online. Speaking at Internet World in London, the firm's mobile business director, Steve Wing, says that currently around 30% of its traffic comes from mobile, with its mobile site hitting 12.2m unique monthly users in March. He estimates that that figure will almost triple over the next year, with the Guardian targeting between 31m and 33m monthly uniques by March 2013 as demand for mobile news rises. However, he says that the growth of mobile is not cannibalising desktop, with consumers simply expecting to be able to access content wherever and whenever they are.
"Mobile is not cannibalising our desktop audience," he says. "More people are accessing more of our journalism on more screens than ever before."
The Guardian now has around 15 different mobile properties, ranging from a mobile-optimised website to an iOS app, a photography app and a new audio app that guides people around King's Cross. Wing says that the firm may look to launch more apps like its walking app, particularly in the run-up to the Olympics, as it looks to expand its reach. He believes that mobile is now the most important area for publishers to focus digitally and says that, while mobile at the Guardian now remains its own standalone unit, it will soon be integrated into the overall running of the publication.
"Mobile needs to be business as usual," he says. "The web, print, mobile and tablet are all core to delivery."
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