Payne indicates that their strategy is to get into mobile markets early, pushing out apps and products as quickly as possible, with development on a markets native platform rather than simply porting apps from one system to another. That strategy has resulting in 14.5 million downloads (primarily iPhones and iPads) and 4.7 million users. "There are more people using our mobile products on a daily basis than looking at the [print] newspaper."
As for advertising, Payne noted that the current plan is to maintain USA Today's digital efforts on an ad-supported rather than subscription-based business model. He indicated that the mobile ad contribution to total ad revenues was in the industry average range of 10-20%. As for their ad strategy, Payne commented,
We’re definitely doing the cross-platform sell as a way to reach people at different times in different places. The industry is not quite there yet in selling different messages synchronized with behavior. We’re selling Olympic packages against all products and platforms now.Another key, Payne indicated, was to keep products and apps fresh, taking advantage of improvements in technology and innovations in operating systems.
We’re actually in the process of relaunching all of USA Today, about eight new products coming out in the next couple of months. We’ll push out a new iPad app, a Windows 8 product, a newly designed mobile Web product, a new release on the iPhone, and an update to the Kindle Fire.
Source: Gannett's Payne Shares 'USA Today' Vision For Mobile, OnlineMediaDaily