Apr 27, 2009 0
“Publishers Seize on iPhone as Great White Digital Hope for Print” says the headline on Advertising Age…
Okay, I’m ready to bite on that one, let’s have a read and see what we have to say on this somewhat overdone topic – I’ve read so many articles on the “Great White hope for print” (hi Kindle) now that another one can’t hurt!
“Several players, from ambitious software developers to arcane auditing bodies, are suddenly converging this spring to hasten the arrival of a long-awaited “iPod for print.” It might just be the iPhone.”
Er, iPod for Print? Seriously – what the hell does anyone need an iPod for print for? And what is it anyway? Ah okay, Apps, we’re talking apps here – I’m okay with that, there are a hell of a lot of good content-based apps out there for the iPhone – not the least of which is one that is mentioned in this article, Conde Nast’s Style.com app, which I’ve played with myself in the past and which is a great content app with some nice advertising integration.
Okay, I’m with you there, but once again as I read through this we start to fall into the same old tired business model that the big publisher’s have always fallen back on – “But many publishers would also like to turn iTunes into a virtual newsstand and subscription hub. It’s immensely popular, and people like buying things there. What better place to try to give paid circulation a foothold in digital?”
And here I reach my point.
Time and again big publishing has missed the point as far as the change in their audiences and their reading/listening/viewing habits and have missed opportunities to market products that really speak to those audiences. Conde Nast’s app works because it provides content in bite-sized chunks that fit the profile for the device and for the user-base…not because they decided to try to drop the entire magazine into a subscription model on the iPhone.
I’ve seen the Subscription model discussed time and again over the past ten years or so (a lot while I was at Lonely Planet, where there were many debates on the subject and where happily I was one of the people pushing the argument ‘against’). It has never worked and I just don’t feel that it ever will for lengthy, text-based content that sits better (surprise) in an offline context.