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Traditional Print Media is in trouble because of Digitally Connected Tablet Content   Traditional Print Media is in trouble because of Digitally Connected Tablet Content
By Salar Golestanian @ 31 Jan 2011 :: Article Rating
 
Last time I bought a traditional paper was just before I purchased my iPad. Prior to that time, I bought a paper of some type at least once a week when I travel by train to London see a client. as well as the usual Sunday paper at home. However, nowadays, I just carry my iPad with me on the train and read whatever I fancy on the iPad. IMHO there are some big problem in the next few years for traditional papers, if this is a trend. I am likely rarely buy anything traditional anymore.

I also have noticed this year that commuters on my train in the morning are reading more with iPad or Kindles and no longer carry a paid magazine or a big broadsheet in their hand – but they did seem to also pick up the morning FREE papers. London Commuters On the way back from the city to suburbs, normally also pickup the free Evening-Standard. So IMO there is still some appetite for traditional papers so long it is free. 


Personally I have not stopped buying traditional papers because I want to be “Green” or maybe my attitude has changed just because I now have an iPad. The newsagent at my local Train station is still there and last week I had a chat with him on how is his business and he thought his sales are down due to recession and did not attribute it to Tablets. But I think he is wrong. Question is that - am I an average Tablet user that used to buy papers in the past and suddenly stopped? I think that I am not. I am probably not alone for this trend. For me, the main reason for not having the appetite for buying a traditional paper is that the titles in morning papers are not new enough. It is last night news printed and I have already learned about them on the web just before I went to bed. 

The other grip I have with traditional newspapers is their absurd displeasure of the modern digital news media is the fact that mostly they complain about their copyright content being copied by independent digital media publishers. This is probably true in some of the cases but them themselves these days resort to Goggling and finding content to print. IMHO I don’t think it is right that, traditional media try to prevent anyone from linking to them (use of news aggregators), while they are constantly stealing other people content themselves.

News aggregators only link to an article and therefore, providing free exposure and traffic to their site and increase their SEO - which is a good thing for them. But many traditional newspapers are continually involved in direct theft of other people's content, blogs etc... Many newspapers apparently believe that just because something is published on a blog, Twitter, or on another site, it is free for them to take.

Remember recent case with AFP’s against the iconic photograph of  the earthquake in Haiti. Or the recent uprising in Middle east they were happy to steal hot news, pictures etc... From public blogs and print them in their paper without any compensations to the original publishers.  Recent floods in Australia where ordinary people’s video of the events was uploaded to YouTube and some papers published the material in their front page without even mention of the original author’s name. All one can see in the source origin is [Source: YouTube – no link!].

Traditional media are struggling to survive, and part of the reason is that people no longer trust them. They often fake the headline, twist stories to sound like scandals. 

In UK today the News-Corp seems to be in fairly big trouble due to their phone bugging practices.  Remember last year’s University of East Anglia (UEA) Climate change Data Dump story - where  most papers overnight with absolutely no understanding of what the mature of the story was or who it was that leaked it - they published headlines like “Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation” which was extremely misleading yet it was selling papers for them. Later when it was proven that “Inquiry: Climate data not manipulated” we did not hear it from same papers and I heard it first from msn news. May be the papers that exaggerated the original leak were a little embarrassed. 

Today I read this article in techcrunch.comI agree with a lot of the article, for example in my list of apps below, I found that Sun PDF takes way too long to download and once you do, it really is not enjoyable read like reading news on BBC.co.uk which is live and feels seriously up-to-date.

My iPad News Apps

I do like to look at FT. But even though clicking on an article, tells me that “ You have reached your limit of 10 free articles within 30 days....” This is not true in my case. I got the FT app about 6 months ago and I had reached the maximum in the first months, since the first months, I have only used the app couple of times yet today it was still coming up with the same message. So their system does not want me to read anymore articles. I am not going to argue this with FT after all it is given for free and if they don't want to give it then that is fine with me.  Having said that, these days if I see a headline in my iPad FT app, the equivalent is somewhere else free on the web. All I need to do is to copy the title and do a Google Search and be sure that you can get the story somewhere else on the web. I would probably question where did FT themselves copied the article from the web? I do wonder?

Also this revelation in the http://techcrunch.com really surprised me:
“Despite the poor reviews and uninspiring number of downloads, media companies sold millions of dollars worth of advertising last year for their iPad apps because advertisers want to be associated with anything shiny and new. Make no mistake: advertising dollars are driving media companies to embrace the iPad, not readers. The same is true for the upcoming launch this week of News Corp’s iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, but at least it will be built from the ground-up for the iPad. I suspect it will take a while for it to reach its true potential—it’s hard enough to launch a new publication as it is without reinventing the reading experience—but I am curious to see where it goes.”

So it seems to me that the main revenue models for the big media companies are creating stylish apps like The Daily is the advertising revenue. However, this technology is very new. Next year there will be lots of tablets with variety of manufactures available. HTML 5 will be mature with IE9, Chrome going RC, FireFox 4 out of the door and Safari being solid HTML5. Therefore, creating a magazine for any web developer will be become much easier. So production of free magazines would become very easy. So if the publishers want us to pay for their content, then it needs to be really unique, quality content like The Economist or FT and cater for specific markets. I as a web developer will probably be very reluctant to pay for some financial or political article since it is not my line of work.  

My suggestion to any Traditional News Media is to start building their business model on “Advertising Revenue” rather than expecting to receive subscription. The only ones that would be able to charge are those with specific content for an audience that needs the content. For example, if I am a trader on my way to work to the city of London at 6.00 am. I would probably subscribe to FT for the hot of the press data on FT.com. But don’t try and convince me that I should pay for subscription as their content is not worth anymore than what I read on BBC.co.uk or Gardian.com. Make no mistake that currently advertising revenue are driving media companies to embrace the iPad and other Tablets in the future and not the readers.

Desperate, old media companies thinking that the Tablet world is going to be a magic bullet to save their dying industry are wrong. People will not read their content just because it is on an iPad or Android App. HTML5 type magazine will be opening up opportunities for publishers to present good content the way that suits web audiences. This should definitely be continuous, real-time updates with ability to comment. The concept of a monthly, weekly or daily magazine is most certainly dead.

In the long run I agree with Microsoft perspective that device specific 'apps' are doomed too like the traditional papers. With Good html and JavaScript with a sprinkle of html-5 and good outstanding interface design that is cross platform The content can be readable on multiple devices from iPhone to Android as well as a 27inch PC screen. Next version of modern browsers will allow publishers and content aggregators to create destinations that can be consumed and enjoyed across MULTIPLE devices, without the need for the content to be re-engineered or template multiple times. Local caching and background content pushing can ensure that visiting a destination is fluid and rewarding like reading a chunky broadsheet was some years ago.
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About Scifiwood News Reviews and Blogs
These are various short and long News Articles, Reviews and Blogs by Salar Golestanian and employees of SalarO.com as well as contributors of Scifiwood.com. The subject matter are mixed topics with Pure Science to Science Fiction as well as general topics on Web Trends, Technology, Software Engineering genre, or whatever subject that can affect the convergence of today's technology with Science Fiction in any shape or form.  These Blogs and Reviews don't have commercial or corporate aspiration, so they are indeed completely independent views. Some of these entries may be short and just link you to the actual news or site that can expand further on the subject of interest.  In Phase II we plan to incorporate some Social Networking applications within the portal.