März 17, 2010

Why online guys may not love the iPad so much

Mario Garcia and Alexis Johann

TAKEAWAY: The print folks in the newsroom seem to be more excited about the iPad and what it may offer than the guys on the online desk. Could it be a case of sibling rivalry? I think so, says Mario Garcia

Last Friday I met Mario Garcia, who helped us to take baby steps with the iPad, that will be released in a few days. We discussed the chances, that the ipad offers for newspapers. As always with Mario, the session was very inspiring, challenging and fruitful. Mario blogged some of our findings today. And this is what he says:

Not so sure about that little brother on the way
Oh, the iPad, one could write constantly about it, from the practical (how to sketch something that will not be flat but not too visually overpowering—-let’s not use the word Flashy in connection with the iPad, please), to the serious (how much can we charge for, let’s say, the download of a single four-page feature?), to the more philosophical (will it ever replace the pleasure of flipping printed pages?).

Then comes the question that nobody is expecting.
Here I am, conducting a little workshop with the talented team of Austria’s WirtschaftsBlatt last week. Alexis Johann, the clever and inquisitive manager of all things digital at WB, asks: Mario, do you think that the iPad is closer to print or online.

Good question, and coming from the young man who heads online here, I know that there is more to it than simple curiosity.

I am thinking about my response, so Alexis helps me:

“You see, for some reason I sense that the print people this time are more excited about this new development than the online people.“

Really?, I say, genuinely surprised, but understanding fully.

And so, after the meeting, I was thinking about this part of the session. Indeed, if you ask me, iPad dynamics are closer to print than to online. The iPad as an instrument is as close as we come to a book or a printed page. You hold it in your hand, you can flip pages, you can read columns of type. And, of course, you have the “pop up book” effect when that video of Lady Gaga singing Paparazzi appears.

But there could also be a reason why the online people are not, let’s say, as animated about the iPad as their print counterparts in the newsroom.

Ok, let’s do the analogy with siblings in a family. When there are two children already and Mom announces that #3 is coming, the oldest child may show a great deal of excitement, but the second one (the baby) will not be. Suddenly, his/her status is going to be usurped. This could be the case here.

Online has reigned supreme as that which is new, modern, with it, fast and young. Suddenly comes the iPad, complete with a new gadget as platform, and with the promise of providing the revenue that online so far has not, and you get the picture.

By the way, perhaps I am thinking of sibling rivalries here because in my family, my own daughter, Ana Barravecchio, is about to have her third child, another boy, in late May. Well, her 5-year-old Angelina is all excited about another little brother; however, 3-year-old Frankie does not want to hear the word “little brother”. He, too, knows that his days as “the baby” are counted.

Sibling rivalries are nothing new. For the newsroom, they are about to start in earnest. Anything that gives a newsroom a good kick in the behind is welcome news.

So, iPadding we go.

Fascinated by the arrival of the iPad and other tablets? Curious as to how it will play out in your newsroom? We can help you lead the discussion, get started with your iPad thinking, and, in no time at all, take your first iPad Baby Steps.

The iPad is coming, and with it comes the chance to reinvigorate old business models and tell stories like never before. Garcia Media is poised to help publishers worldwide seize the opportunities that this new medium will provide.

Contact Garciamedia for more information, and to get the iPad conversation started

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