Tablet Technologies’ Effects on Publication Industry

Posted By Annika Peick

To say the journalism industry has changed quite a bit since the publication of America’s first newspapers in the 1700s would be an understatement. Over the course of the its history, journalists have seen dramatic changes in content and style, design and delivery, but now they are also witnessing a total reinvention of the business as a whole.

With new technologies like the iPad 2 developing, the publication industry will have to change the ways in which it delivers content to consumers. Photo from Creative Commons.

According to an article featured in Folio Magazine last week, John Loughlin, Executive Vice President and General Manager for Hearst Magazines, highlighted four aspects of the industry magazine publishers in particular should keep an eye on for the future. In his keynote speech for the Direct Marketing Association‘s Circulation Marketing Day kick-off, Loughlin also worked to squash the growing debate of print vs. digital forms of media.

According to Loughlin, the only way to bridge the gap between these two forms is “to embrace the possibility of ‘and,'” signaling a shift from viewing them as separate entities to realizing them as equally valuable in their own rights.

Loughlin presented astounding statistics regarding the growing popularity of tablet technology, a key component of the digital delivery of media, and projected that the days of consumer magazines’ reliance on advertising as 70-80 percent of their revenue is over. With the recent launch of Apple‘s iPad2, tablet technology has come even further into the limelight as an important step in the ever-changing technology of the publication business, and Loughlin predicts that its technology will stretch to reach over 50 million people within 16 months.

Reading all of these statistics and hearing all of the chatter concerning the growing popularity of tablet technology has me confused, concerned and very intrigued. Though I still believe the original iPad is little more than a hyped-up version of an iPod Touch, I am slowly beginning to see that its technology could have ground-breaking effects for the publication industry. Though I still see great value in the ability to physically hold a magazine or book, I think tablet delivery has the ability to offer more depth to a story and supplement it in very interesting ways.

Do you think the publication industry should work to get print and digital forms of media to work together? Do you believe tablet technologies and other devices similar to them will one day completely take over as the exclusive media delivery form? What are the benefits and disadvantages of both delivery systems?

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3 responses to “Tablet Technologies’ Effects on Publication Industry

  1. Michael Rutledge

    At the rate technology is advancing it seems inevitable that print media will quickly fall by the wayside. It seems as if tablets are the way of the future, allowing everyone to be connected twenty-four seven. The ipad is a bit big and clunky for me to be a handheld device, but not nearly as useful as my laptop if I want to sit down and use it. I don’t know if tablets will continue to grow as a means of digital media, but I do know that there are going to be drastic changes in our lifetimes.

  2. Chelsey Teachout

    If tablet technologies took over print media, there would be little means for non-tablet owners to get the news. The great thing about print news is that it can be passed from one person to another. People that find a used newspaper do not have to pay the cost for it–this makes the news more accessible. My fear is that news delivered by a tablet like the Ipad 2 would be exclusive only to those that can afford to buy the news. It would be great to see libraries carry technology like Ipads in the future to bridge this gap.

  3. Chelsea, I definitely agree about the cost issue. Does anyone think tablet technologies (or similar devices) will eventually be lowered enough in price to allow a larger portion of the population access?

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