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European publications question the "savior" status of the iPad

European publications question the "savior" status of the iPad

With rising debt, decreasing readership, and a viable solution to the problems of online media nowhere in sight, the newspaper industry is facing some rather baffling problems. Therefore it is unsurprising that editors have latched onto Apple's shiniest new product, the iPad, as the solution to their problems. While the glossy gadget may seem like a performer of technological miracles, it remains to be seen if it will be the savior of journalism, as many have predicted. While the early numbers have been impressive, Read Write Web notes that reporters have been asking if the financial boost is merely a reflection of the iPad's novelty and not of its journalistic viability.

Indeed, unlike the iPad's explosive introduction to the American market, European enthusiasm about the iPad has been rather underwhelming, according to Follow The Media. The news source remarks that the European iPad release lacked the long lines and excited mobs of the device's American release, thus indicating a more muted attitude toward the iPad in Europe. This attitude is likewise reflected in the pessimism of certain European publications toward the device. Swiss publisher Michael Ringier says that he sees the iPad as a "gadget," and goes on to claim that "journalism is the only thing that can save newspapers."

Moreover, the iPad may be facing greater competition in the future. Other companies like Microsoft and Google plan on offering iPad-like tablet computers for a lower cost both to consumers and publishers while Amazon's kindle continues to be competition to Apple's device. Presently, the iPad charges publishers 30 percent of their revenue, a figure that some publishers complain is too high. Hoping to be able to strike a better deal with other future tablet creators, publishers may hold off on committing to the iPad.

However, other European publishers are enthusiastic, saying that the iPad shows a great deal of promise. Mathias Döpfner, head of Axel Springer, recently said in an interview that "the iPad is really delivering what we were all waiting for." Döpfner sees the iPad's unique way of communicating news as a means to deliver information in a more emotional, and therefore more relatable, way.

Unfortunately, the lackluster European attitude toward the iPad may be a reflection of what is to come for the device. Europeans have already seen many of the iPad's applications in the American market and are already bored with the iPad's capabilities. However considering Döpfner's claim that the iPad's brand of news is more emotional, perhaps the European reaction is simply delayed, and future interest in the device will improve as people come to like the more emotional way of receiving news.

Although the iPad's initial numbers have been impressive, journalists should be careful not to place all of their confidence in one device. While the iPad shows a great deal of promise, it is important for publications to continue to look for other means to successfully communicate online media.

Sources: Follow The Media, Read Write Web, The New York Times


Carole Wurzelbacher


2010-06-02 16:35

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

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