Media Magazine

Tablet Editions Are a Reality, So Why Are Some Newspapers Still Not There?

Posted on the 08 February 2012 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

TAKEAWAY: The relationship between newspaper publishers and the iPad is, well, not well defined.  About 75% of newspapers still do not have an iPad edition. Why not?

iPad owners, who represent the vast bulk of the tablet computing market, look an awful lot like newspaper readers,“ writes Alan D. Mutter in a piece about the state of the relationship between newspaper publishers and the iPad.

In his piece, Mutter argues that “many newspapers have yet to develop their very first app. Of the publishers who took the plunge, most were so unclear on their concept that they shouldn’t have bothered. “

Maybe a little too tough? Perhaps. However, not entirely untrue.

About The New York Times app, which we discussed in our Tuesday blog: 

While The New York Times is one of the few publishers successfully charging for access to its digital content, its text-centric iPad app offers only a limited sample of the material available in print. The sparseness of the news report combined with the paucity of interactive content make for a distinctly tepid experience.

I would dare say—-and this is not based on any scientific research—-that about 75% of all published newspapers worldwide are NOT yet in an iPad app edition.  Of course, the publishers and editors of these newspapers are interested in the new platform, some legitimately, others conforming to the idea that tablets generally are likely to be the way they will do business in the future.

At media conferences everywhere, these publishers attend, taking copious notes, asking many smart questions, but, in most cases, they return to newsrooms and “discuss” what they have learned about the iPad and tablet editions, but not necessarily doing much about it.

The divide is large between desire and execution in the midst of a bad economy, particularly for newspaper companies.

However, as I say repeatedly in my presentations: everyone in the room needs to be thinking tablet, and everyone should be preparing that first 1.0 edition of their first app, to take their newspaper into this digital platform, and to show their audiences that they believe in the concept of the media quartet, with various platforms to present information, and with the story as the protagonist.

Many of the publishers who approach me have no idea how or where to start, some (and this is a large number, if you ask me) fear that a tablet edition will be the end of the printed edition (not necessarily), and a large number feel that they need a staff of 20 full time people to get a tablet edition (also nonsense, but this depends on how ambitious your tablet edition is).

In spite of these obstacles and misconceptions, I forecast that by December 2012 we may have may have added many new newspaper titles in the iTunes store.


1. Start small. Even if all you do is a pdf version of the newspapers, that is a good start, and better than no presence whatsoever.

2. Find two or three key staffers in your newsroom who practice good journalism but who are digitally oriented, and appoint them to get your first tablet edition going.

3. Decide on the type of app that you will have: pdf only, some curated content (preferably interactive), plus the news and features of the day.

4. Decide on how “updated” the app will be.

5. Make it a point to have fun with your new tablet edition, letting grow and evolve, as it should.


TheMarioBlog post #943

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