Tablets Are Already Impacting the Future of News

A new report from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reveals that the impact of the tablet computer, introduced to consumer markets as the IPad only 18 months ago, has already been transformative for journalism. 11% of American adults already own a tablet of some kind.

Most people who have tablets not only use them every day, but spend up to 90 minutes a day with them. Tablet owners surf the web, read email, consume news, read books, and watch video.

Of those tablet owners, about half get their news on their tablets every day, reading long articles as well as headlines. This is wonderful for the publishing industry, which has long been anxious about the future of long form journalism.

Here is the most important for publishers: reading news is right up there with surfing the web in general and reading email as a way to spend time with a tablet. Journalism is not going away. In fact, many tablet owners say they read more news on their tablets than they read before. They are willing to try different news sources. And 4 in 10 say they read long form articles and analyses

Most remarkable: once someone gets a tablet, they are more likely to prefer it over print and TV news sources.

However, sentiment about what users are willing to pay for has not changed, with a majority of tablet users still saying they were not willing to pay for online content. Only 14% say they pay directly for online content, while 25% say it is included with their print subscriptions. The New York Times has had moderate success with its paywall, the Wall Street Journal has had a subscription model since it originally went online, and the New Yorker appears to have some success with a hybrid subscription-advertising model. Others, including many other Murdoch publications, have not fared so well.

For publishers and advertisers, this means the advertising model will not go away, and there will continue to be a need for innovative online advertising technologies such as the ones ZEDO has been testing with great success. The good news for advertisers is that tablet readers will scroll down below the fold, and also jump to inside pages. The challenge is to develop ads that engage and interact with consumers, and produce a call to action.

SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 02:  An attendee holds t...

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