Monday, January 18, 2010

The iSlate and newspaper distribution

Allan Biggar in his blog posting over the weekend says that the new Apple iSlate is set to be a gamechanger for newspapers and publishers.

Yes, Apple’s proposed introduction of the iSlate (or whatever they call it) is hoped to do for newspapers and magazines what the iPhone did for pocket applications… it gives them a new platform for distribution. However, that may end up being the only similarity between them.

You see the iPhone allowed bedroom developers and small digital agencies to easily innovate. They quickly built new things they thought people might want, need and buy, as well as allowing them to utilise the ‘Freemium’ business model (download and use the basic functionality for free, then pay a small price for an upgraded or full-featured version id you want).

I wonder (and seriously doubt) if the traditional publishers are approaching the iSlate with the same innovation that the iPhone application developers have done or are just thinking they can replicate their existing print offering on a digital device. iPhone applications are not exact replicas of large websites (in fact many don’t even have links to websites at all), they are something that suits the pocket device’s format and portability... they are popular because they are different, not because they are the same as what has gone before. That is part of their appeal and one reason why so many have been downloaded.

I also wonder if mainstream media will have the same approach to revenue generation and consider things such as a ‘Freemium’ version of their product with the option of charging for all of it.
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