Beyond Print: Innovative Newspapers in a Tablet World

Oct 01, 2011

No one will argue that the tablet market has been booming.  Apple is selling, on average, more than 80,000 iPads per day.  Device sales are on track to top 8 million units in the second quarter of 2011, and this reach doesn’t factor in the second wave of tablets that have been building up steam: Motorola Zoom, Blackberry Playbook and countless others.

With the rapid growth, everyone is looking to tap into the tablet boom:

  • Disney is encouraging you to watch “Tron: Legacy” on your Blu-Ray while interacting on the second screen with the synched iPad app. Think VH1 Pop-Up Video but with more touch screen and fewer reality TV stars.
  • Monster, ever the king of the job market, wants you to create, edit and submit your resume without ever leaving the comfort of your tablet. Also, should the mood take you, search for nearby jobs using the built-in GPS.
  • Rovio (a company most of us had never heard of before) helped us wile away hours of our day, smashing birds into obstacles to stop the pigs. That sentence will sound strange to those few folks who still haven’t played Angry Birds.
  • Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch spent more than $30 million dollars to develop the Web-only newspaper The Daily and provide a tablet-centric news source. Forty dollars per year gets you original content built for the iPad.

"New times demand new journalism," Murdoch said at the launch of The Daily. "So we built The Daily completely from scratch, on the most innovative device to come about in my time – the iPad."

He is not alone in his belief that new delivery methods of media require new approaches to the newspaper model. Other newspapers are looking to wade into the fray with news applications custom built for the mobile, tablet experience.

The Orange County Register has developed an iPad app that delivers its content through a “curated experience.”  Doug Bennett, president of the Freedom Interactive division of Freedom Communications (owners of The OC Register), said that the iPad edition will include “hand-picked” stories that will cater to the tablet demographic. This includes celebrity news, sports, things to do and photos alongside the traditional local and business news.  Along with the targeted content, The OC Register will also be utilizing the multimedia aspects of the device to bring interactive features (designed in HTML 5 as we still wait for Flash to come to the iPad) that are lacking in the industry’s other portable, mobile edition (print).

The New York Post has brought a cover-to-cover replica of its historic print edition to the iPad, but didn’t stop with a simple replica. The newspaper has included photos not in the print edition, video and one additional feature that pushed the app into the innovative category.  At its launch, The NY Post app offered the ability to create your own covers from three of the daily stories.  A user could choose a story, write their own headline and then be able to share with friends.  Useful? Probably not, but most certainly fun.

This feature prompted a review from New York Village Voice blogger, Foster Kamer, of a staggering proportion (especially when coming from a competing newspaper): “It is amazing and if you are a New Yorker you must own this as soon as humanly possible”.

At The Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News sports have long been a staple, and with the rabid Philly fan base, it only made sense for the newspapers to capitalize on this audience through the iPad.  The “Philly Pro Baseball” tablet-focused app delivers the following:

  • Every column and article from the Daily News and Inquirer
  • Every post from the papers’ popular blogs
  • Staff analysis exclusive to the app
  • High resolution photo gallery
  • Video reports from Inquirer and Daily News writers
  • Live, interactive game-time updates and fan chats

Attracting a younger, sports-centric audience can bring a boom to the bottom line as The Inquirer monetizes its online offerings through subscriptions. This also delivers new opportunities for advertisers.  As newspapers dig into the tablet world and continue to develop new and innovative products, they will continue to attract the younger audience (25- to 44-year-old adults are the leading demographic for iPad owners) that these devices bring.  Along with the traditional online and print product, these additions will continue to build the premium local offering brought to the table by newspapers.

Free Market Analysis

See what MANSI can do for you. Enter your information below to receive a free market analysis to help with your newspaper placement needs.