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Five iPad Ideas For Newspapers

Posted by Dan Vigil on January 27, 2010


Apple’s launch of the iPad today offers real opportunities for media companies.

It’s not the gadgets, but the habits that media companies need to watch in these times and as we saw with the iPhone, when technology works radical habit changes follow.

Newspapers in particular have been victims of changing habits with the move toward a more connected world. While reading the paper every morning is still a habit for many, declines in readership are indicating that younger readers are adopting different habits of consuming content. Content-on-the-go is what they’re looking for and the iPad with its large screen and web functionality overpowers the E-reader. More importantly for this next generation of video game jockeys, the iPad offers the opportunity to make reading the newspaper fun. The degree to which Newspapers embrace this technology and begin to develop more dynamic content delivery strategies will determine their future with tomorrows consumers.

Well some of the concepts that follow are not “new”, tablet technologies like the iPad are extending them to new levels. Here’s a list of 5 ideas newspapers can consider to take advantage of the iPad and consumer habits that it’s driving:

1. Mobile Journalism: The days of taking content back to the office for editing are over. The right mobile device will provide you with all of the tools necessary to capture, edit and publish from the field. The iPad with it’s 1024 x 768 resolution offers the display capabilities of a high end laptop at a fraction of the weight and cost. Even without a built-in camera, the 30 pin connector and camera connection kit makes the device easy to add high end video and photo capture devices. Within the next few months we’re sure to see case-like camera and video accessories that latch on to the iPad at the connector, essentially turning the device into a camera. Apple has also released a keyboard dock which allows for a typing experience that seasoned journalist can appreciate. With 3G and WIFI baked in, content can fly from the device to the newspaper or other mobile devices within minutes.

2. Finger Functions: With its large touch screen, tablet technology employed by the iPad is even threatening the use of the mouse as our primary navigation device. This provides newspapers with an opportunity to bring some fun back into content delivery. Rather than using the device to view newspaper websites, newspapers can build content apps with creative navigation schemes. Tap twice to follow a story, slide photos within a frame to see the next one in the gallery, stretch a chart or graph to change its units, drag an ad or coupon off the page to save it for later. It’s just a matter of time before users will be able to program their own navigation commands like: outline the shape of an “S” to go to the sports section, or draw a “B” on the screen to switch to business. Tablets are ushering in a new era of finger-based navigation that opens up new doors for interacting with content.

3. Ramp Up The Video: In April 2009, Internet users viewed 16.8 billion videos, a 52 percent increase over April 2008, according to comScore. It’s expected that video advertising will be a $1.5 billion industry by the end of 2012. While still a relatively small percentage of total and local online advertising, online video represents an enormous opportunity for newspapers to grow digital media revenue and audience. The iPad has arrived in the right place at the right time. There’s no substitute for the emotion and detail that video brings to a news story and the iPad is perfect for watching online video . The device also allows users to easily move between wide-screen and full-screen with a double-tap. Along with ipTV, the iPad provides more reason for newspapers to invest in building out their own video content channels.

4. Pad-vertising and App-vertising: Advertising is content on the iPad. There are more opportunities for advertisers to interact with consumers using the touch screen interface. Newspapers need to reinvent advertising units and sizes for tablet displays. Ads will become more interactive. Users will be able to communicate with advertisers and request more information without leaving the ad unit. Perhaps newspapers can get into the app-vertising business by deploying mini content applications that are sponsored by local advertisers. Though this version of the iPad does not come with native GPS capability, location-based advertising campaigns will become the norm for local advertisers as tablet and mobile devices proliferate.

5. Provide Local Free WIFI: If it’s not clear by now, the iPad reinforces the fact that we’re headed towards a constantly connected culture and free regional WIFI access is on the horizon. Some cities have already integrated free WIFI into their communities. It may sound like a crazy idea and it’s definitely a shift from the core business model for newspapers, but newspapers should explore the possibility of becoming free WIFI providers in their communities. As the cost of the technology decreases and bandwidth increases every year, there’s more opportunity to become a local access provider than ever before. Furthermore, it’s become apparent that in a connected culture, digital content is considered free and is readily shared. Newspapers could try becoming the network in their communities rather than trying to charge for their contribution to it. By becoming wireless providers in their communities, newspapers are essentially becoming the plumbing for local content flow. This opens up huge opportunities to monetize with targeted advertising as users login from local access points. It also provides opportunities to monetize around registration data and grow circulation. Just imagine, FREE WIRELESS brought to you by The Daily News.

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8 Responses to “Five iPad Ideas For Newspapers”

  1. […] the original here: Five IPad Ideas For Newspapers « WebSalesGuy.com Share and […]

  2. Linda Lindus said

    You hit the nail on the head. Or is that old school.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dan Vigil, gail donahue. gail donahue said: RT @websalesguy: Five IPad Ideas For Newspapers: Apple’s launch of the IPad today offers real opportunities for media companies. … http://bit.ly/acnoUw […]

  4. Sprague said

    I am entirely looking forward to the iPad, and I am amazed to see what sorts of gamez and applications will be created for it. I just don’t understand some of the nitpicky criticisms in this website. Size of the bezel?? Puh-leeze!

  5. Very good post. I’ve found your blog via Bing and I’m really happy about the information you provide in your articles. Btw your blogs layout is really messed up on the Chrome browser. Would be great if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the good work!

  6. iPad said

    Great post. I’m not worried about android catching up to iphone, they are just too far behind. Thanks! Ryan – Ipad

  7. […] I mentioned in a previous post about “App-vertising” publishers and advertisers need to get into the application development business with the […]

  8. Engagement is the key if newspapers wanted to move forward in the Web 2.0 world. The article points out some good ideas for newspapers to incorporate that will create a more interactive experience for users.

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