Tablets and the Publishing Revolution

Yesterday I attended a panel discussion about tablets at Time Warner.  The panelists included  Terry McDonnell, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group.

Time was hyping up it’s new tablet applications and, I have to admit,  it was really exciting to see print veterans talk about the limitless possibilities of delivering a new experience on these new devices (Mr. McDonnell calls them appliances).

First, there are the obvious benefits of creating more in-depth experiences for a magazine reader.  But the conversation really starts to become interesting when the discussion of ads and ad rates come up.  New Time magazine issues will have only six (maybe eight) ad spots in their tablet editions, but the experience in these ads will be extremely rich experiences.  The company showed a few ads yesterday and they really were incredible proof-of-concept videos (one for Gatorade and one for Mustang).  The rates for these ads were hinted at being as high as print advertisements.  The jury is still out on whether advertisers will help sustain these rates,  but that’s great news for creators of in-depth content.

By creating a new experience that can only be had on tablets, the print industry is going to drive demand for the devices and find solid new ground to generate revenue.  This is exactly the opposite of how the music industry acted in the face of MP3 players (and we all know how that turned out).

An older video example of the Sports Illustrated application is below (Time hasn’t released the videos it showed yesterday).  Time’s applications were designed and developed by the Wonderfactory.

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