“‘I’m from the media world,’ Anderson told the audience ‘and as you may have heard, we have lots of questions about our future. The good news is I think we found part of the answer…. We think this is a game changer.'”
I think the defining term is, ‘what do you mean by ‘game”.The ‘game’ in terms of the publishing industry, is ‘paying for content’.I used to pay for published content.I used to subscribe to Macworld – until I realised I could get it for free at www.macworld.co.uk.I used to subscribe to The New Scientist – until their website launched.I used to buy newspapers – until their websites came online, and recently the excellent ‘The Independent’ iPhone app came on the AppStore.And everyone else, with a few exceptions, is just like me.The publishers have painted themselves into a corner, hoping that a free website supported by ads would generate sufficient revenue.They were naive, and for the most part wrong.Now cometh the iPad.I still pay for movies and music, partly out of a duty not to pirate, but also because there’s a viable channel for someone like me to purchase it. Published magazine content I continue to get for free – because it’s there on the internet.The iPad is perfect for movies, but it’s also perfect, and I’d say designed, for magazine, books & newspaper content – the aspect ratio alone tells us this.Am I willing to return to my subscription habits of the past? Am I willing to subscribe for an online version of Macworld, The Independent & The New Scientist, and do that through the iPad?Only if they offer something more than the website, more than the printed magazine, and I’d like to think that there are enough people out there, who are willing to pay for concise, well-written and immersive content, to make it pay.I expect that, once the iPad is released we will see many publisher dipping their toes in the iPad’s, freezing water, to find out what the market is and whether it is worth it.Let’s just hope that they ‘get’ the device, and make sure the content they expect us to pay for is worth it also.