Tag Archives: news media

iPad Not A Newspaper Substitute (Yet)

Britain’s The Telegraph was one of a few organisations to be given early access to the iPad before its launch and Tim Rowell, Director of Mobile Product Development at the Telegraph, reports on some of the thinking that went on as the team developed the first apps for it.

Initially, it appears that the plans were for a “all encompassing service” but as no-one knew what people wanted or how they would behave, in the end a simpler app was developed that tracked what the readers did. Over 60,000 people provided tracking data and the results were revealing.

“People are realizing that the iPad is not a direct substitute for the newspaper, they’re arguably complementary,” Mr Rowell says. The data showed that the average age of a reader was 47 and the app was only used seven times a month when the readers were unable to buy a paper.  Interestingly, the iPads tended to stay at home or at work and weren’t carried around. And to the Telegraph’s delight, the app was being used in over 186 countries.  “Here is a market, we can start selling the iPad edition to people abroad,” Mr Rowell says.

Mr Rowell went on to give some of the lessons learned from the experience (quoted from the original article)

– The iPad is not a direct substitute for print (yet)
– Users want editorial guidance – they want editors to provide the hierarchy of what is important.
– Production is a headache, building the app itself is easy.
– Advertising agencies and clients see the iPad app as a web product while newspapers see it as print. “We have to come up with a new metric,” Mr Rowell says.
– Apple’s insistence that anything offered outside the Apple store has to be offered inside is a problem, but Apple seems willing to listen to publishers’ concerns.

There’s some very interesting stuff there, especially when combined with the State of the News Media, reported on earlier in the week. Clearly some of the news media aren’t willing to have the web steal their lunch entirely and are fighting back, but what is revealing is the Telegraph app was mostly used when the reader couldn’t buy a paper.

For non-UK readers, The Daily Telegraph is one of the leading quality daily newspapers.

The State of the News Media 2011

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its eighth annual of  State of the News Media 2011, a fascinating review of the news media over the past year, showing that news has reached a tipping point (if it hasn’t already tipped) with more news read on-line than in print.

In the last year alone, on-line news reading grew by a little over 17% with every other news source losing audience: cable TV lost nearly 14% and there’s bar chart showing the decline here. Getting news and information on mobile devices was a big winner with 47% of all American adults reading some local news on their mobile device. There’s also an interesting part on how many people would pay for news and how much they would pay. The full article on mobile consumption is here.

Newspapers are the biggest losers with a weekday circulation loss of 5% and an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 newsroom jobs lost in the last year. There’s also concern that the move to on-line reading and in particular, reading on mobile devices, has introduced new players such as Google and Apple to the news space and they want to both set the rules and take their share of the revenue.

And if you want to know who owns the news media, then there’s a whole page of “Top 5s”.

This is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to know what’s happening in news media but you’d need to set aside an hour or so to read it cover to cover.