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May 21 2010


Explained: iPad’s role in the media ecosystem

This is an edited version of a post that first appeared on Kristine Lowe’s blog, Notes on the Changing Media Landscape.

Since its launch earlier this year, the media industry has been abuzz with talk of how the iPad will change the industry. As a media journalist I’ve already attended quite a few talks and read an extraordinary number of articles on the subject, but INMAs Tablet summit in Oxford this week gave me new insights into what kind of role the iPad might come to play in the media ecosystem.

Convenience or uniqueness?

That is not to say that there is a consensus about this role. For instance the Guardian’s Jonathan Moore said his newspaper saw the iPad more as convenience device, it’s iPad app offering pretty much the same content as you find on the Guardian’s news site, while the majority of the presenters saw it as the perfect device for offering unique content people were willing to pay for.

“This has to be a premium content. If you approach it as something free: let’s just turn off the light and go home. It has to be premium, paid for, from day one,” said Juan Senõr, Innovation in Newspapers UK director. He asserted that we can’t talk about tablets without talking about the rest of our platforms, pointing out that you have to have different content for different platforms.

“Tablet and paper will be premium, provide background etc, while we have to see online and mobile as mass media. You will have to charge perhaps five times more for print paper and for tablets,” he said, citing some of the products Innovation in Newspapers has remade, especially the successful Portuguese daily news magazine I, as perfect journalism to be transformed to the iPad.

Long form journalism and the ‘lean-back device’

Media consultant and commentator Frédéric Filloux said the iPad offers long-form journalism a new chance. In his view, it provides three major rehabilitations: 1) Re-bundling the news. Tablets and mobile can re-bundle content, 2) Visual 3) Length.

He also sees the device as being primarily about media consumption rather than production: “The iPad is the lean-back device: it’s a consumption device rather than a production device – it has nothing in common with a lean-forward device such as the PC.” Read more of his thoughts on this here.

Jon Einar Sandvand, digital strategist at Aftenposten, Norway’s newspaper of record, said iPad readership figures suggested it was most used in the evening, between six and eight.

Juan Antonio Giner, president and founder of Innovation in Newspapers, reiterates similar ideas to Filloux on media consumption: “Research suggests iPad will become the leading platform in terms of how much people spend consuming media on it. It is a media consumption device. If you are a mono-media operation producing second-hand stories you won’t win from iPad: garbage in, garbage out.”

Now, let me confess, I often find that big media conferences tend to focus too much on ideology and too little on how people are actually approaching a certain issue or innovation, but the Tablet Summit offered some excellent insight into how different news organisations are approaching the iPad.

Among those, the most useful was the very hands-on presentation by Saulo Ribas, creative director at Brazilian Editora Globo’s Epoca Magazine.

Useful iPad tips for publishers

His newspaper wanted to be first in the country with an iPad app, so they built a light version first, and will launch the full version in July. He offered five useful tips for newspapers wanting to develop iPad apps:

    1. It’s an app, not a magazine or newspaper. We have to make the best use of the interface Apple has provided.
    – Good apps are non-linear. You can access content from everywhere in the app.
    – Good apps don’t require users to learn how to use it, or at least not so much. If you need instructions on how to use the app it usually means it’s poorly designed.
    – Good apps have very simple information architecture. Simplify and eliminate the unnecessary
    – Good apps allow the users to leave and then come back to where he left. Try to produce the best reading experience possible
    2. Think about templates not pages. What is the role reserved for the editorial designer in the age of the tablets? If it looks awesome on the iPad it will look awesome on any other tablet.
    3. Personalise: the reader is really in control. Allow the reader to define the settings of the app, the more the better. It’s a big change for us because we’re very attached to our typography in our mags and papers. We have a search view. Can’t be static, people are used to search. We’ve tried to put the basic controls at the bottom of the page.
    4. Technology is content. Have programmers part of the newsroom
    5. Choose the right flow of information inside the iPad app

Who controls the data?

“I do believe Apple wants to become the world’s kiosk. We could end up like the music industry; we do need to be aware of what’s happening. They control pricing and they control customer data – and if you loose those, you loose out,” said Senõr. That Apple also controls the customer data was new to me, but it was also mentioned by one of the other presenters. If that is the case, it sounds very worrying indeed.

Repurposing vs. reinvention

Many industry experts have looked to the iPad as a potential saviour for the media industry. In essence, the sound bite I took away from the Tablet Summit which best answers this proposition was that yes, there is a future life for the news industry if we reinvent, not if we just repurpose.

While I made extensive notes during the summit, Marek Miller was doing such an excellent job of live blogging it that I thought I’d afford myself the luxury of taking some time to reflect a bit on the event before I started writing about it. I will return to a few other thoughts I took away from the event a bit later, but, if you want to read more about the individual presentations, do check Mareks excellent live blog from the event here.

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May 05 2010




Watch here Juan Senor, INNOVATION’s partner and UK director, interviewed last week in New York at the INMA World Conference.

And read here more details about the INMA/INNOVATION Oxford Tablet Summit.

May 04 2010




If you are not yet registered, this is the time to attend the INMA/INNOVATION Oxford Tablet Summit.

The program has now more speakers and Apple has announced that one million iPads have been sold in just 28 days after the device’s introduction on April 3 and the same day the iPad 3G went on sale.

It took 74 days for the iPhone to sell its first million!

INNOVATION starts this week iPad work with one the European leading magazine companies in Paris.

And next week with one the largest North American newspapers.

All these first experiences will be presented at the Oxford Tablet Summit, so you will attend not a kind of “bla, bla, bla” meeting but a summit where to talk and exchange real experiences, know the right and wrong ways to go, the most innovative models, the best technology developments and the most creative design strategies.

Don’t miss it!

Register here.

April 20 2010




More details about the INMA/INOVATION Oxford Tablet Summit.

Two new speakers.

The right quotes from the editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger:

“A tabloid newspaper page seemed exotically large, a broadsheet like a street hoarding. The iPad just seemed natural.”

“Has the Guardian ever looked more beautiful?”

And a great illustration by Luis Grañena.

Click here for more information and the full program.

April 16 2010




Daniel Ambrose writes:

“Innovation is not coasting to a stop now that the iPad has been launched. New platforms are multiplying like rabbits. Sony’s Reader and Kindle came first; now there is Barnes & Noble Nook, Astak EZReader; Bookeen Cybook, Ectaco jetBook, Samsung Papyrus, iRex iLiad. All are poised to compete in the e-reader category. Some of these share aspects of software format, content distribution plans, and even display technology. Then there is the mobile sector; different operating systems (and different apps) for BlackBerry, Symbian OS, Windows Mobile, Goggle’s Android, Palm OS etc. This diversity of media delivery opportunity is far wider then you are thinking right now. It includes mobile’s opposite, place-based media — which is emerging as well as a new delivery platform that is easier to deploy and to distribute to than ever before.

It should be clear, then, that if reaching the maximum number of readers and customers – and customers for advertisers — remains a key strategy for media companies, they’ll be doing that on a wider and wider range of devices and platforms. Analog media companies have struggled to adapt to one important new distribution platform in the last 15 years: the browser-based Internet. Over the next 15 years there will be dozens of new opportunities to deliver media company content and services. It’s time to begin the education process in earnest; not with highly specific training on particular platforms anointed by management, but with conceptual thinking that provides a framework for taking in each new delivery form. It’s time for publishing companies to begin to re-invest in their staffs at all levels. Companies that do so with thrive. New opportunities are emerging every day that their staffs will recognize and exploit. Companies that don’t will see the future pass them by.”

Well said!

Oh, boy, Daniel, you must work with INNOVATION…

My 10 questions to publishers and editors:

1. How you can handle new platforms when your newsroom still thinks print first?

2. How you can handle new platforms when your website people still thinks online first?

3. How you can handle new platforms when print and web newsrooms still are not integrated?

4. How you can handle new platforms when your sales people still doesn’t sell multi-media packages?

5. How you can handle new platforms when your journalists and managers don’t talk each other?

6. How you can handle new platforms when your IT people want to control everything?

7. How you can handle new platforms when your visual journalists still are mono-media story tellers?

8. How you can handle new platforms when your journalists are not able to create unique, relevant and compelling content?

9. How you can handle new platforms when your are not organized like a 24/7 multi-media operation?

10. How you can handle new platforms when you don’t spend money on research, training and innovation?

Let’s wake up!

Our INMA/INNOVATION Oxford Tablet Summit will try to answer some of these questions.

If you are interested, please register here.

(Thanks to Eivind Thomsen)

April 13 2010




More and more registrations from more and more countries:







United States.


United Kingdom.







Czech Republic.




19 countries right now!

A fantastic list of participants from newspapers, magazines, online services and industry providers, many of them running the first iPad media applications…

So you will learn from the speakers but also from the participants.

Share your own experience, ideas and projects and enjoy the Oxford university venue.

If you want to be there, register here.




Two new speakers for the Oxford Tablet Summit.

Javier Zarracina from The Boston Globe (USA) and Frédéric Filloux the former editor of Libération and 20 Minutes (France).

The news came with the last quote from Rupert Murdioch about the tablets:

“If you have less newspapers and more of these [tablets]… it may well be the saving of the newspaper industry.”

March 25 2010




Next Monday 29 March 2010, 14h00 (London Time) Juan Senor, our partner and INNOVATION’s UK director, will conduct one of the first Webinars organized by the World Editors Forum (WEF).

If you are planing to attend the INMA/INNOVATION Oxford Tablet Summit (May 17-18), this Webinar could interest you as Juan Senor will present a preview of the main issues to be included and discussed in detail in the Oxford program.

What should newspapers offer on the iPad and tablets – how to build the right tablet application for your newspaper

To register in the Oxford Summit click here.

To register in the Webinar click here.

March 18 2010




The International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA) announced today the first program of the Oxford Tablet Summit.

In the Segerius-Bruce’s picture you can see the venue for the opening dinner session of the Summit at the Exeter College.


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