When I pitched the idea of doing a blog on gadgets to Masthead publisher Doug Bennet it seemed the appropriate time to help magazine publishers stay on top of technology developments. Plus it helps me play with some cool gadgets.
The introduction of eReaders in the marketplace by Amazon, Sony, Apple and Kobo in Canada may be the tipping point for the magazine industry to make money for content online. According to the Boston-based Yankee Group, It is expected that six million eReaders will be sold in the USA this year and will grow 34% per year, with prices for the devices falling 15% per year. Apple has already sold over three million iPads worldwide.
Hardware ownership will help shape the digital strategy for magazine publishers to expand the reach of the magazine with the best ROI
You can now buy magazine apps for $4.99 at the Apple iTunes store or a book at the Kobo bookstore store (Chapters/Indigo owns 60% of Kobo) for $9.95. These new benchmarks may be a glimpse to the future for a paid online magazine subscription model. Connected Planet reported that Wired magazine has sold 24,000 apps on the Apple iPad since its introduction for $4.99. It seems like there is a gold rush for Apple iPad apps as there are over 250,000 apps now available in the market. You know the golden rule; first to market is part of the winning formula in today’s competitive marketplace.
Another new skill publishers will need as they adapt to the digital world is the use of video. As part of the editorial mix online video is fast becoming a key component and some of my clients have created video studios in their offices. So I thought I would add video and lighting equipment publishers can use for their in-house studios as part of the blog. I finally bought a webcam and using it for video Skype meetings with clients and I am having a blast. The cost of a webcam is now $15 so it was a cheap investment.
The long-term health of any business is to attract the next generation of readers to their brands. The next generation that are now 18-24 uses social networks, text message, have laptops and mobile phones. While I believe print will never die, but will still be a preference for older readers, it is important that great magazine content is available online to help the brands grow or just survive, but not for free if we can help it.