just a thought about the iPad, content, music and print

Let’s take a look at the iPad.

this piece of hardware spurs discussions that remind me of the days when the iPod was seen as the bright future of the music industry.

It’s convenient for the customers, it’s hip, users seem to love the iPad for many reasons, even though it’s still missing some basics, like good content.

But media companies still figure out what to do with the new platform, which still gives IT departments, controlling or designers a bad headache.

Fact is, (i)Pad sales topped all expectations.

So there are many devices out there, enough to reach a lot of readers / listeners / viewers. But most publishers still don’t see a way to break even. What is the advertising model behind it? When will PR and ad agencies jump on this platform, and will it work like it does for printed issues? What about Apples bonkers share? What about the Flash vs. html5 issue? What about other tabloids running on Android or other homegrown OS?

We can boil this whole discussion down to Apple vs. Android, Free vs. Paid, Offline vs. Online.


Apple vs. Android

Android is not designed exclusively for one hardware environment. Apple is what it is, because hard- and software do match exceptionally well. On the other hand more and more devices will be launched for Android and in return this will speed the development of this OS.

The same thing, a war of OSes is already happening on the smartphone market and will now be enhanced onto the tabloids as well. So publishers must not see tabloids separated from other mobile or online devices.

Android tablets are still expensive, but other players will gain relevant market shares and undermine Apples position very soon. This in return will help to solve technical issues that still make cross platform publishing difficult and therefore expensive.

Online vs. Offline

iPads turned out to be not just good for reading, but for gaming, web browsing and online features. Publishers tend to transfer their idea of printed offline products paid by ads onto tabloids 1:1, thinking a devices quality of design and usability alone will convince users.

But it will be a major issue for publishers to learn how to enrich content with other media and features like social network references in order to make their product actually fit on such devices.

Free vs. Pay

Publishers seem convinced that free offerings will remain an important part of their strategy – again.

A smart pricing strategy for content spread out over various platforms is still missing.


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