e-Readers, Tablets and Kindles are going to save the media industry! Have you seen those headlines?

There is widespread excitement among the newspaper industry at the moment with all this hype over Apple’s upcoming ‘Tablet’ (or iSlate…or whatever). The reason is that just a few months ago people were saying that the newspaper industry was poised for failure.

It couldn’t attract advertisers due to falling circulation numbers. London’s evening free press was pretty badly hit too, those papers (London Lite and thelondonpaper) actually no longer exist. But, with the launch of these tablets and the like, the rebirth of the newspaper industry is being touted.

Suddenly, apparently, advertisers will be attracted once more to the newspaper mastheads and brands.

This seems like the silver bullet to save the industry doesn’t it? It’ll reignite good journalism and revolutionize how we consume news media. But I have my reservations.

Firstly, one report in the US said the ‘Tablet’ will cost around $999. I don’t know too many people that can afford that…they might stick to paying 20p for a copy of the Sun each morning with a side of breasts on Page 3.

Secondly, how will the ads differ from web ads?

Are they going to be interactive?

There is no doubt that January 27 will be an exciting day. But I think it’s too soon to be predicting the rebirth of the newspaper masthead.

There’s going to be pay walls next year around News Corp publications and I predict several other publishers will follow suit. So even after you do pay this $999 for a ‘Tablet’, you then also have to pay for a copy of your newspaper of choice.

It all sounds very expensive. And people have enjoyed getting the news for free for so long will they be willing to pay and to view it on a fancy reader? The reader (I’ve seen leaked pics) looks as big as a laptop…will consumers really want to lug it around all day? I for one can’t afford a bigger handbag, nor can my back.

Apple’s device is widely expected to be geared toward the publishing industry, a hub for newspaper, magazine, and book reading in addition to accessing music, games, and video. And with its App Store already a huge success, Apple will enter the market with a major advantage.

And is worth noting the success so far of Amazon’s Kindle in the US so far – it was the most popular Christmas gift last year.

When iTunes started selling music on the internet I know that the industry had its reservations about that too: “We download music for free, why would we all of a sudden pay for it?”

Perhaps I’m echoing those calls with this ‘Tablet’ business. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as excited about this gadget as most. I do however think it is a bit early to be suggesting it’s the industries savior.

Furthermore, look how long it took advertisers to get on board with social media. Will they jump aboard these e-Readers instantly? Publishers are going to have to make some interesting deals with advertisers to make them worthwhile for both the newspapers and the consumers.


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