Can the iPad launch journalism back into profits?

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Just as the printing press established modern journalism for centuries, the iPad could provide a similar spark to help reinvent the production of news.

The journalism industry is coming to a crossroads.  Newspapers are quickly on the way out and producers of news are trying to find the next best medium to present their content whilst making a profit.

No news outlets have had success with subscription based access to their online newspapers, which has led to media CEOs looking elsewhere for a more lucrative way of selling their content.

Apple’s new gadget, the iPad, has the potential to be the saviour for the news providers by offering a simple way to get consumers to pay for news delivered in the most sophisticated way.

The iPad can be considered as a desktop that can download programs (apps) to their home screen that can be opened by a simple touch of the icon.  Consumers make a one-off payment to buy the app from Apple’s app store which gives them complete access to the app’s content.

Newspaper readership is falling fast and the journalism industry needs a medium that can stem the flow of plummeting profits.  With the exception of the ABC there are no other news providers that have designed an app for any mobile or tablet device in Australia.

“Absolutely yes, as less people are buying newspapers”, technology editor for Channel Nine’s Today Show Charlie Brown said when asked if the journalism industry should be further exploring the use of apps to produce their news.

At the moment he does not see apps as a profitable medium for news, but this could change as the technology develops.

Apple had sold one million of their high tech tablets within one month of its release proving the iPad an overnight success.  More than this, the general applications (apps) needed to wok the iPad have made in excess of $3 mill already which is a clear indication that the public is prepared to pay for apps should they prove their worth.

“The iPad is like a big RSS reader with extra stuff, I can’t wait to get one”, said Peter, 28, who was placing an order for a unit at the Apple Store in Doncaster Shopping Centre.

The transition of hard copy journalism to the multimedia era will have some initial problems and will most likely change the way it is done altogether.

“What will be hard to sustain is the top end of journalism, the high cost investigative journalism that people will be unlikely to pay for to cover its cost”, says the new professor of Journalism at UTS, Dr. Alan Knight.

However, Dr. Knight does the iPad can bring some new and exciting elements to journalism.

“The niche type markets that can be created on the internet will be good for journalism.

You get newspaper layout, looking at the front page of paper with audio and video – this should be good for news.  Readership patterns are changing rapidly … newspapers are already gone to people under the age of thirty so they are the audience to target”, he says.

The biggest problem with charging users for news online (app) is that many people are prepared to use sites such as Google News to get content for free.

“It’s only going to work for quality publications such as the Wall Street Journal, BBC and The Times etc as they’re a global brand, delivering global news to a global market”, says Charlie Brown.

The iPad and its apps are a sample of how news will be presented in the near future.  They will not save journalism but provide a sketching pad for news producers who wish to make substantial profits from online and mobile news when the public is ready to consume it.

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One Response to “Can the iPad launch journalism back into profits?”

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I dont think people will pay to get news on anything might as well cut the old tv on…..


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