10 Quotes on the Apple iPad and the Business of News

Apple iPadNow that the first wave in the Apple iPad crazy-a-thon has past, I thought I’d do a quick round-up of what people are saying about the iPad from the perspective of the news media.

You can view this in the spirit of Robert Scoble’s To create or curate?, or catch on that I’m on a project deadline and don’t have time to contribute my own thoughts. :)

Either way, here are 10 quotes that caught my attention on how the iPad will impact news organizations from a business or design perspective:

“The business side of the equation will be complicated. Apple has proven over and over that when it comes to media, part of having a simple interface with consumers is having a simple price plan. Publishing companies can’t expect to offer customized pricing on separate devices – one price for Kindle, another for the tablet, and still another for people arriving on computers – and not be buried in a wave of second guessing.”
-David Carr, The iPad: A Media Machine That Opens Up a New Front

“Most important for the e-reader debate, total online ad revenues have remained a small part of newspapers’ bottom line — no more than 10% in 2009, an especially discouraging figure considering that newspapers have had a decade to work on boosting online ad revenues. The question, then, is whether newspaper publishers will do any better at monetizing mobile advertising than they have online. Again, some back-of-the-envelope math suggests they won’t.”
-Erik Sass, News Analysis: Even Apple Can’t Save Newspapers

“Editors have been telling us for years that people won’t read long stories online. Yet they will read 1,000-page novels on their Kindles. What will they be willing to read on their iPad? I predict the return of long-form journalism. At the same time, visual storytelling will take deeper, richer forms. Information design will be more important than ever. Something like New York’s Approval Matrix that we designed back in 2005 with Adam Moss is popular in print but will really come to life in this format. Some people might subscribe to it all by itself.”
-Luke Hayman, Five Ways the iPad Will Change Magazine Design

“One sticking point for publishers has been whether they will have direct access to customer data, which they would use to sell renewals or related magazines and to tell their advertisers about their audience. (That is one reason why major publishers joined a consortium, announced in December, that would offer a storefront for digital magazines.)”
-Stephanie Clifford, Condé Nast and Time Inc. Cheer iPad; Others Have Doubts

“Has the iPhone changed the traditional print media business? Not at all — unless you think selling an app for your publication (as Conde Nast has for GQ) is a game-changer. Yes, the New York Times app looks impressive, with video that plays right inside the newspaper display (although you can do that on the NYT web site, too). But will a fancier app change the nature of the newspaper business or the magazine business? No.”
-Mathew Ingrim, Will the iTablet help the media? Possibly. Save the media? No.

“The future of news is about distributing content as widely as possible and monetising not just content but relationships. Devices will be a big part of that, but they’re not the answer.”
-Patrick Smith, Why the iPad isn’t the saviour of journalism as we know it

“But what about this promised land of revolutionary hybridized content — won’t people be willing to pay for that? Thing is, that’s going to be time consuming and expensive to make. A handful of very large publishers, like the NYT, may be able to scrap together some compelling content on a regular basis. But it’s going to be difficult to quickly integrate additional supplementary material in a way that doesn’t feel tacked on.”
-Jason Kincaid, The Tablet Could Spur A Media Revolution, But It Will Be Out Of Apple’s Hands

“But the iPad, as we know it today, doesn’t change any of the fundamental economics of news commerce. On the iPhone, you can sell news apps through the App Store; you can upsell specific pieces of content to people within your apps; and you can sell advertising within those applications. (Apple takes chunks of the revenue from those first two options.) On the iPad, you can…do those same three things. The only thing that has changed is the size, and that big beautiful screen. Will people who weren’t willing to buy news on an iPhone be sold on the idea just because the text is bigger and the photos are prettier? I’d be surprised. The commerce proposition hasn’t changed.”
-Joshua Benton, So it’s called the iPad: Five thoughts on how it will (and won’t) change the game for news organizations

“The iPad makes the promise of integrated storytelling possible. (Yeah!) The Web has held that promise, but it is still often clunky. (Boo!) The good news is that the iPad isn’t locked to HTML (Yeah!), but what it will use within the iPhone operating system is unclear. (Hmmm) The New York Times app shown at the release looks great, with embedded video. How it was built is not yet public. The fabulous Sports Illustrated tablet demo was built with Adobe Air and Flex, which don’t play on the iPhone OS. Most online multimedia is built in Flash, which doesn’t play on the iPhone OS. Most audio slides shows are built in Flash. Most online video is encoded as Flash video, which — you guessed it — doesn’t play on the iPhone OS. So while it holds a lot of promise for better user interaction, figuring out a whole new platform, how to design for it and integrate our content management systems with it is going to be a big challenge for news organizations. (Sigh.)”
-Regina McCombs, What Apple’s iPad Means for Journalism Design, Multimedia & Business

“My guess is that the truly revolutionary content is not going to come from the old-guard publishers. It’s going to come from new guys, kids who have grown up digital. This notion of mashing together elements comes naturally to them. And somewhere out there, a genius is waiting to be discovered — the Orson Welles of digital media, someone who will create an entirely new language for storytelling. If you’re reading this, Orson Jr., please get in touch. I’ve got something I want to show you. Okay? Peace.”
-Fake Steve Jobs, Tablet Part Two: The true significance of the Tablet

As additional commentary emerges in the days to come, I’ll update this post with links to more good pieces.

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