Friday, 20 February 2009

What will it take to stop people reading newspapers?

UK Newspaper sales have been sliding for some time, with the December ABC numbers for virtually all titles not painting a picture of a growing market.

It's a slow decline though and despite predictions of the end of the printed newspaper, circulations are still high. The Sun is back above 3m again and The Telegraph, as the largest quality daily, sells around 850,000 copies.

It's going to take a step change in the market to put a real dent in newspaper sales and I think it could come from Apple. A large-form ipod Touch is predicted to launch this year

(not a picture of a large-form ipod Touch)

What's that got to do with newspapers? Well I think a big part of the reason why daily newspapers are still read on paper, is that there's not a good electronic platform to read them on.
Mobile phone screens are far too small to be useful and opening a netbook on the commute to work is a geeky pastime at best.

If Apple bring their elegant designs and ease of use to a next-gen PDA with a screen big enough to comfortably read an article, then it could start a change that has long been predicted but hasn't happened yet.

Papers on paper will stay with us, because ipods at the breakfast table just doesn't feel right. But an ipod that picks up The Times wirelessly while it's charging and has it ready to go for London commuters. That really could work and could be as easy as downloading The Times application from the Apps Store.

It could also be very lucrative for the newspapers themselves, if they use the technology to engage a young, London-based, ABC1 demographic.

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