Here is a nice article from Paidcontent.org with interviews of 3 executives at Time, Condenast and Hearst.
To make a long story short, digital is strategic for everybody and we all know that. We all believe that a sound long term digital strategy is the best way to compensate for loss in print sales and traditional revenue stream downturns. What we do not know, the same way the music industry struggled with the introdution of Napster and then iTunes, is what makes the most sense.
Big companies often need to make big investments at important moments. And in fact, this is what has happened in the case of Murdoch's crystal ball (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23897262-newspaper-apps-will-take-place-of-print-says-news-corps-james-murdoch.do) with The Daily, Condenast's Wired USA, Sports Illustrated, etc. I am not passing judgement, just an observation.
Newscorp thinks that magazine apps are the future and that print is dead. But then again, in 1995, when I was working at an internet start up in Italy called Video On Line, we were convinced that the newspaper business was dead and that consumers were not going to be making the trip to the kiosk in a couple of years....
After 18 months of enabling our publishing partners, small, medium and large, Italian, American or Turkish, what we see as a sound business principle at a confusing time is to maintain a KISS strategy, at least initially.
Streamline is a good word, portability is another one, outsourcing, digital replica, experimenting and mixing free and premium, html5 and digital replica seem to be other healthy concepts.
After all, 95% of the consumers that buy an iPad are not tech innovators. They are normal people, looking for a new way to communicate, play and get informed. They are the same people that read your papers and magazines every day and will continue to do so for some time. People, my age at least, but even my son with comic books, like going to the newsstand and buying a physical product they can smell, touch, feel and collect.
We all like, however, waking up and taking our iPad to the breakfast table and downloading the morning paper in 15 seconds, especially if there is some audio-video of Mr. Berlusconi's latest joke or even more interesting, a Boston Red Sox late inning rally.
And for some strange and wonderful reason, we click to buy with a whole lot more ease and comfort on an iPad and presumably on Google Checkout (especially when there will be mobile payments) and our advertising on these platforms is making 5 to 10 times more than on traditional internet...
So, a pre-Easter blog from Paperlit, embrace click and pay, keep the download process and time to page as fast as possible, limit the bells and whistles and monitor the metrics of usage as carefully as possible.
Happy Easter from all of us at Paperlit!