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I decided to talk about paid for content and mobile devices such as the iPad. Well duh!
You may not have noticed but Apple recently sneaked in a change to the iTunes logo. There was no fanfare but the image of a CD was removed from iTunes. This is a recognition that music now largely has no physical manifestation. My children will grow up in a world where music is either live or digital, no CDs never mind LPs and compact audio cassettes.
The rumour is that an iPhone Nano will feature free cloud based storage system via Mobile Me thus eliminating even the need for devices to store your digital files.
At a recent APA event in the Apple office, an Apple representative presented a slide that showed the opportunity for print to transition into paid for digital content with a large proportion of music purchases now digital. The Print market, magazines, newspapers, books is significantly larger than the music market and yet only a very small proportion of this is digital.
In a time when even the biggest and best media companies and newspapers struggle to make the free content/display ad funded model work online, how can they make money from their content?
Obviously Murdoch and the Times made a bold move by erecting a paywall around their content and while their success has outstripped many predictions there haven't exactly been a flood of competitors following suit.
Without a significant digital revenue stream, how are publishers and news organization going to afford to produce quality journalism, design and content?
Now I don't know the solution but it seems likely to me that new technology platforms such as mobile or the iPad may hold the answer. If print, like music ceases to have a physical manifestation, then maybe handheld devices like the iPad will be the way in which we'll all consume content in the future. It is certainly how I consume magazines and newspapers on the daily commute.
A life long book lover, my mum bought herself a Kindle for Christmas. My mum! She's about as far from an early adopter as you get. We had a black and white telly well into the 80s. Turns out she isn't a ‘book' lover but a lover of reading and she's unlikely to buy another paperback. It isn't just the hardware that enables this either, the ecosystem, including, software, billing, speed, content is the thing. The fact that Amazon make it easy for her, they already had her credit card details etc make the transition easy and the ability to pay for the content too.
No surprise then that in Q4 of 2010, kindle book downloads exceeded Amazon's paperback sales.
This is what Apple have been building towards for year with iTunes, acclimatising the public to paying for content, first music and now print. Apple just this week announced the ability for publishers to sell subscriptions via their applications, naturally creaming 30% off the fee.
So will this ‘paying for content' lark catch on. Google seem to think so launching Google One Pass today. No-one is entirely sure what it is but it sounds impressive. In their words:
"It offers purchase-once, view-anywhere functionality, so users can view the content they buy across all of their devices."
The top comment on the Youtube video?
"the Beggining of The death of Free? internet" (sic)
Mike Burgess, Head of Digital, Seven
2 Comments on "What does a digital future look like for publishers?"
Hi Mike, I was at that APA event too - enjoyed your presentation. Took some notes on the Apple guy's talk, and assuming my note-taking skills are up to the task, he described the opportunity for publishers thus: - 30 per cent of £10bn music industry already digitised - 1 per cent of £100bn print industry digitised Time for publishers to grab a grand isn't quite here - saturation of digital devices still some way off, but it's coming fast. ps thanks for free latest issue of Project - nice.
Thanks Mike. Really good article - enjoyed. I’m looking at taking a print project online (which is where; quite frankly it should be). Be good to find out more about “Project” and other thoughts. Best, ®