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  • Will Apple's Tablet Bring an End to Free Mobile News?


    The release of the Apple tablet could help no shortage of struggling industries regain some of the lost bounce in their step, particularly the publishing world, which has perpetually stumbled amidst the dawn of the digital age. Now comes a report that The New York Times is primed and ready to capitalize on the launch of the tablet with the big reveal of their long awaited paid content program. No longer will premium mobile content be available free of charge. And with the masses largely unwilling to cough up for digital news distribution, it may just take the tablet to change some minds.

    From New York Magazine:

    New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations.
    As we've managed to assess from the plethora of available clues about the design and functionalities of the forthcoming tablet, this new offering from Apple would very well be "a natural-born book reader." Built to compete with Amazon, Sony, and Barnes & Noble, the Apple Tablet could very well spark an appetite for content that will bode favorably for publications like the New York Times, which seems more than happy to piggyback on Apple's platform.

    One personal friend of Sulzberger said a final decision could come within days, and a senior newsroom source agreed, adding that the plan could be announced in a matter of weeks. (Apple's tablet computer is rumored to launch on January 27, and sources speculate that Sulzberger will strike a content partnership for the new device, which could dovetail with the paid strategy.)
    If a paid model is adopted by the Times to coincide with the tablet's launch, watch for the floodgates to open with myriad other currently free digital news outlets making the switch to "premium content" packages available at a reasonable price.

    But will it work... or just might this aggressive (and opportunistic) agenda backfire for those who adopt it? Ultimately, journalism will have to catch up with modern technology if reporters and publishers have any chance of staying in business. Paid content may not be popular, but it may be the only available option for publications struggling to stay in business. And if the tablet can help the publishing world stay afloat by facilitating a new content platform desirable to the masses, then we're looking at a win-win for all.

    But getting to that point could be a little messy.

    Image via NY Mag
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Will Apple's Tablet Bring an End to Free Mobile News? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. mikerlx's Avatar
      mikerlx -
      First, wow I guess times are changing come on tablet appear!!
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      I like how everyone thinks the so called Apple Tablet is pretty much guaranteed. Unless it's way cheaper than $1000 it'll be worthless, or unless Apple can absolutely bend every news media outlet to it's will to get all content.

      Who wants a tablet anyway? What use would it serve? Those are real questions, I'm not trying to be a smartass. I just don't see a use for a tablet when a laptop or smartphone would cover 90% of the tablets functions.
    1. Melech518's Avatar
      Melech518 -
      If subscription rates are reasonable, and you actually get a digital version of the whole Newspaper or Magazine, then I don't see why people wouldnt pay. It is a great concept actually. Less time spent going out of the way to put a quarter in a machine to get a paper, less paper waste, less energy being spent producing newspapers. I think in the next ten years we will see physically paper Newspapers eliminated and everything will be digital. The only downside to this is the number of jobs that will be lost of those working in the presses....
    1. cm2047's Avatar
      cm2047 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Melech518 View Post
      If subscription rates are reasonable, and you actually get a digital version of the whole Newspaper or Magazine, then I don't see why people wouldnt pay. It is a great concept actually. Less time spent going out of the way to put a quarter in a machine to get a paper, less paper waste, less energy being spent producing newspapers. I think in the next ten years we will see physically paper Newspapers eliminated and everything will be digital. The only downside to this is the number of jobs that will be lost of those working in the presses....
      Ya know its funny I was just talking with my wife about this yesterday. With what Apple and others are doing in 5-7 years you will see no more print - all digital with subscriptions to your local paper, USA Today, WSJ, etc and to magazines Time, Newsweek, etc. Already seeing this with the leaks for the tablet and Conde Nast. But take it a step further to video media. Outlets like FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC will be in a prime position to capitalize on faster WWAN speeds at start broadcasting via the internet better than today. For outlets like FOX and NBC who have all day news shows they can leverage those as well as the local markets into wireless on the go news (using the GPS in your phone to find your local market). I think Comcast buying or trying to buy NBC is a glimpse into that. Comcast is smart at realizes that cableboxes and cable service may soon be obsolete.

      The 27" iMac has the VESA mount. Your TV's will no longer be TV's but a computer that receives its content from these broadband services. You pay for the channels you want. I watch, History, TLC, Discovery, and a handful of others yet pay for a bunch of channels I do not watch. So why pay for the stuff I don't want. Very similar to what some are doing now, free OTA Digital basic service, using iTunes to by subscriptions to their favorite shows, and using Netflix to get movies.

      But yeah some jobs will be lost and advertising will be changed in a big way but I think its the future.
    1. MetallicaFan1991's Avatar
      MetallicaFan1991 -
      It will obviously not bring an end to free news, I'm pretty sure there are other tablets on the market too, nothing special about this tablet except it's "Apple".
      As long as it runs Snow Leopard, it'll be pretty cool, any other OS will suck especially if it's a glorified iPhone OS.
    1. southfrisco's Avatar
      southfrisco -
      I prefer physical books, magazines and yes at times newspapers. I use them side by side with online content. As long as there is a want for that type of tangible medium companies will continue to sell them. Print isn't going away anytime soon.
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      Wow. That's a good point. I haven't brought a papers in about 6 months since I brought the cnn app.
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      nothing comes w/o a cost these days. i don't see why they wouldn't charge for subscriptions
    1. duquesa's Avatar
      duquesa -
      "nothing comes w/o a cost these days. i don't see why they wouldn't charge for subscriptions"

      Ever heard of advertising ???

      Pressdisplay.com have a fantastic app for the iphone called pressreader which allows you you to read an incredible list of newspappers from around the world, the app works great allowing you to touch any part of a newspapper and then go to that article in full detail, it would work fantastically on a tablet.
      The down side to the above is they want to charge 0.99 cents per issue or 29.95 dollars a month to view whatever you want.

      News can be gattherede for free from all corners of the internet and most people me included are no longer willing to pay for it.

      At these prices the money saved in printing delivery etc is not being passed on to customers, to make this viable in my opinion a revenue from advertising is the only way forward.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      It wont end free mobile news but the free content will be truncated