Will the iPad save the print industry? That isn’t the biggest question on my mind, it’s whether or not the print industry will embrace the technology that will let themselves be saved.
Since early 2000 I have heard, “we are waiting on the right device” or a “proven model.” This isn’t about VHS or Betamax, it is about being a movie producer that wants their movies seen. We need to stop being hung up on the religious battles of the 1’s and 0’s and focus on story telling, the content packages and tweaking the advertising models. We need to do this until we find one that works and when it stops working, tweak we need to tweak it some more.
Many seem to want to follow in the tail lights of the NYT, Wired, WSJ and Sports Illustrated’s of the world. We need to realize these models may not work for the rest of the industry. We need to also recognize that these publications have embraced past technologies that have caused them to already modernized their workflows. Thus making them more agile to the changing technology landscapes.
The resistance of change to the legacy business models combined with the failure to modernize have been the roadblocks that I have seen. Not looking towards what is working for Cracked Magazine, TechCrunch or he the Huffington Posts of the world (all of which have successful e-publications. )Stop focusing on past print margins and trying to apply them to their new digital business because this will only allow for more disappointments.
I remember articles talking about how interactive CD Roms were going to revolutionize the print industry in the mid 90’s. Now 15 years later some of the same roadblocks are still in place. The lack of optimized digital workflows that ignore the constraints of the “output”. The lack of digital rights management, good metadata, the ability to crowd source, the ability to scale and to be nimble enough to react. It’s not about XML, NTIF, IPTC, iAtom, or NewsML. It’s not about the Paid Content strategy, or the embargo rules. It’s also not about he Ipad, the Que, Skiff, Google Books, or Androids of the world. It’s about all of them and being agnostic enough not to have to care what model or what device dominants the marketplace.
Wired isn’t producing a innovative Ipad magazine experience. They are producing a innovative interactive magazine experience that will be device agnostic. If the Ipad isn’t “the savior of print industry”, no worries because Wired will be ready when the “right device” arrives that will in fact “save the print industry”.
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