Posted by: structureofnews | August 13, 2010

iPad, Therefore I Am

An interesting post on iPad pricing from a handful of magazines, making the point that there’s some resistance by consumers, at least initially, to the prices being charged.

It’s early days yet, of course – and you can’t generalize behavior from early adopters to the entire market.  But it is a quick reality check on the iPad-will-save-journalism hype that’s still going around.  That’s not to say it won’t have a real impact on reading habits, and potentially open the door to new forms of products and business models.  Having played with one for a couple of weeks, I can attest to the coolness of the gadget and its potential for altering our reading and surfing behavior – just as the iPod changed our listening behavior.   But it’s probably too early to know how people will really take to it.

Leaving aside the question of payment – not a small question, and given that it’s a new platform, it allows publishers the ability to not repeat what Alan Mutter calls the “original sin” of giving content away for free.  But leaving that aside first:

The iPad certainly gives publishers much more control over the viewer experience than the web does – great for publishers, potentially, and also for advertisers, who want to have more control of their message.  But the flip side is less control for readers, who have become used to being able to surf between sites, aggregate content on a page, and so on.   So seeing how consumers take to the new paradigm – less freedom than on the web, but more than in a paper – will be an interesting test of behavior, and ultimately business model.


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