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In April News Limited boss Rupert Murdoch said Apple’s iPad could be the newspaper industry’s saviour.

The tablets have decent high-resolution screens which make them great reading devices. Digital news delivery through a secure and commercially-oriented channel helps publishers make money selling news, not serving it free with advertising.

When iPad launched in Australia, Murdoch’s flagship newspaper The Australian gave it a huge amount of positive coverage. At times the stories read more like promotional material than hard news. Murdoch’s words praising the iPad were everywhere.

Earlier this week the front page of the paper’s technology section, Australian IT carried a report by Andrew Colley. He says Australian iPad sales hit 250,000.

That makes the tablet a rip-roaring success. But he goes on to say the iPad has yet to take off as a mass news medium. Colley quotes Telsyte director Foad Fadaghi who said consumers do not see tablet screens as attractive alternatives to TVs, computer screens or newspapers.

He said: “Having a mobile tablet device did not lead to massive substitution of news, sport and weather from content from any other sources — be that online, TV or newspapers”.

5 thoughts on “The Australian: iPad yet to take off as news reader

  1. Interesting in the light of Stuff launching their iPad app. I ‘m not convinced it’s really a viable model at least for text based news.
    It will need advertising to be viable. Adding adverts will clutter the screen and degrade the user experience. Its install base will at present restrict advertisers appeal.
    However it may be a suitable platform for broadcast media as adverts can be imbedded in AV material with out distraction and consumption of screen real estate. I would be most likely to use the iPad at home after work rather than during the day, suggesting it may be more suitable for a evening or early morning news delivered by AV rather than by text

  2. The Herald’s excellent app shows just how a newspaper can deliver a media-rich experience that is, in many ways, superior to both paper and website. The app has the relaxed convenience of a paper-based medium while maintaining the richness of the website experience.

    And the iPad screen is certainly big enough to accept adverts without becoming intrusively cluttered.

  3. @Phillip – I’m not convinced a digitial newsletter needs advertising to be viable – maybe in New Zealand where there’s a smaller audience, but not in places like the UK. I grew up there in the 1970s with a vibrant newspaper market and most papers had barely any advertising.

    If publishers can talk readers into paying, news can be delivered without ads. It’s a big ask though.

  4. @MacDoctor – I think you’ve hit on something here. The NZ Herald’s app is better than anything on offer in Australia. It may be they don’t choose to read on the iPad because no local publisher offers the right format.

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