In the first move of its kind, Philadelphia newspapers The Philadelphia Enquirer and Philadelphia Daily News have announced plans to start selling Android tablets at a discount with content uploaded from their newspapers, Todd Wasserman reports. The plan is to launch sales of the tablets in mid-August, with both newspapers preloaded onto them. The newspaper app costs 2.99 a week, although pricing for the discounted tablet hasn’t been announced yet. This is the first time that a newspaper has started selling tablets, and if it works, it might not be the last. Newspapers have been slow to embrace new media as a way to make their content available, and that hasn’t changed with tablets. But this move could start a trend. Wasserman also reported that a recent survey found that 28.2 percent of readers have replaced their newspaper with a smartphone or tablet. That's an alarmingly high number for print media, considering how short of a time tablets have been in the marketplace. If newspapers are going to continue to be viable with digital media’s rise, there are certain steps to be taken. While this might be a good start for newspapers, more needs to be done.
There isn’t a ton of exclusive material just for the tablet audience available right now. There has been some multimedia content, but as far as articles go, it’s just about the same as what you get in the standard newspaper. Having some articles that are only available on the tablet might raise its profile, especially if they come from established writers. There needs to be a motivating factor for people to read the material on the tablet, when they can still theoretically read the newspaper. There are so many things to do on an Android-powered device that the newspaper needs to have something to offer that stands out. A top columnist whose work is exclusively featured on the device could be an answer.
Digital newspapers have already started to embrace using multimedia to complement their articles, but more communication could be a selling point. How about direct interaction between the columnists and the readers? This could be a key part of the digital newspapers and allow for instant feedback. With the move towards instant response in this Twitter generation, being able to respond quickly with many others always has appeal. Reacting to what’s in the newspaper with other subscribers should be a fun reason to keep reading.
Social Networking Possibilities
This has already been established by almost all digital newspapers, but being able to share articles on Facebook and other social websites can be useful. It’s a way for the articles to be circulated to a wider audience and should be capitalized on by all print outlets.
Newspapers still have a tough road ahead of them. In general, it’s a challenging task to get our increasingly ADD-ridden society to do one thing at a time. To sit down and read a newspaper without doing anything else at the same time is becoming an outdated notion, as sad as that may be. For print media to survive, it has become crucial to involve readers in other creative ways. People just don’t read something and discard it anymore. A big part of the population wants to comment on it and have an active input in what they’re reading and experiencing. With the transition into tablet media, newspapers are finally starting to respond to that increasing demand.