Tablet computers, salvation for print media?

Magazines on a tablet

Sales of tablets has exploded and the range of tablet publications grow accordingly. Will the tablet bury traditional print media once and for all? Or be it’s salvation in a time of technological revolution?

They are everywhere, and their numbers increase every day. People armed with tablet computers can be seen on the bus, sitting on the train and the tube, in parks, libraries, conference rooms, lying on beds and in sofas. Ipads, Kindles and Nooks, the latest technological wave sweeping our world.

Last Christmas tablets where the hottest of the hottest, sales in December increased with 400% compared to same period the year before. They are no longer reserved for geeks and tech fanatics, the people has claimed it as their new toy.

Results of a survey presented by Professional Publishers Association Tablet and Publishing (PPA TAP) shows that tablets have sparked a new interest in print media.
96% of all tablet owners has read a printed magazine in the last year, compared to the national average of 80%.

A key point made by the PPA, based on their survey, is that digital editions should not be seen as a replacement to print, but an addition. The survey found that 68% of the responding tablet owners have read a newspaper or magazine on the tablet that they had not read before in print.

Traditional print media, newspapers, periodicals and magazines has suffered as readers has move to digital platforms. The problem has not been fewer readers in total, never before has so many consumed so much news. The National Readership Survey merges print and online audiences of publications together in one block, shows that the websites of the middle- and upmarket newspaper outperforme the red-tops. The survey also shows how the traffic to The Times website has collapsed after News International introduced a paywall in 2010. The websites has a monthly UK readership of 295,000, rising to 497,000 when The Sunday Times site is added. The Guardian reports the amount of unique UK monthly browsers to be 24,056,482.

More people now read the Guardian online than buy the newspaper, in fact, the online audience adds 119 per cent to the monthly readership. Likewise the Daily Telegraph has increased it’s readership with 97.5 per cent and the Independent with 70.2 per cent. In total, websites increase the total UK audience of the “quality press” by 49 per cent, bringing in readers that does not read the print products.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation in August, the tech magazine T3 had the highest average monthly circulation among magazines with tablet editions with more than 17,000 downloads in the first half of 2012. Trailing behind was Cosmopolitan with 13,298 and Mens Health with 12,142.
The digital revolution has changed the media landscape significantly. Publications that used to reach a broad spectrum has suffered declines in their print circulation. But print is not dying. Magazines and newspapers has become more and more specialised and niche oriented. Visit your local news agent and behold the wide range of magazines for sale, specialising in a wide range of issues, from cooking, via celebrity gossip to dirt bikes.

Online, print publications reach out to an increasing audience. The main problem the media outlets battle with is how to extract sufficient revenue from their online enterprise. Prices for advertising in print far higher than online, and many online newspapers struggle to generate enough money to keep reporters and other staff on their payroll amid falling circulation of their print editions.

Tablets like iPad and Kindle has opened up a new market and the tendency is positive. A wast portion of tablet user has found new interest in newspapers and magazines on the new platform. It is still to early to draw conclusions, but there are good omens saying many are ready to pay the price for quality, even for media products.

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