More People Recognizing That Media iPad Adaptations Feel Like CD-ROM Media
from the don't-recreate-paper dept
In the mid 90s, a friend of mine was involved in a project to recreate magazines like Time on CD-ROM for the multimedia PCs of the era. The results were pretty cool, but the CD-ROM versions of the publications hardly replaced their print counterparts. Content has since moved from optical disk to the web, and now the allure of tablet devices has created a market for specific newspaper and magazine apps -- the number one paid app for iPad is a digital version of Wired, which sold about 1,000 copies an hour the first day it was launched. While it's a much better effort than some of the other efforts, more than anything Wired for iPad shows the weaknesses of media apps and demonstrates how the tablet remains a still-imperfect medium to deliver this type of content.Gartenberg notes that the iPad version is, in some ways, a worst of both worlds. It's not like the website, which is easily shared or emailed or discussed with others. Most of that functionality is effectively missing, which is really quite limiting for folks who are used to sharing the news as a part of experiencing it. Second, it doesn't allow physical notations or markup the way an actual paper magazine does -- or, again, the ability to easily share the magazine with others. You could share your iPad, but that's not quite the same thing...
Wired's efforts, like the CD-ROM efforts of the past, by has some cool features. A video clip of Toy Story 3 graces the cover and there are various interactive features, but more than anything else, it feels like a scanned in copy of the paper mag. Although navigation is better than most iPad magazines, it's still never clear when a screen should be scrolled down or just swiped horizontally.
He then goes on to point out the ridiculous economics. We've already seen other media publications come out with crazy pricing, but Wired unfortunately followed suit, and it makes little sense given the economics involved (which, Gartenberg points out is ironic, given editor-in-chief Chris Anderson's last book on "Free" in business models:
Even worse, the price point is hard to swallow. Charging the full cover price for a digital magazine makes no sense when I can subscribe to the paper edition of Wired for a year at a much lower cost per issue -- especially given that there's no paper, ink, shipping or distribution charges. Given the lack of flexibility, I'd assume there would at least be some incentive to get me to make the digital purchase, and even more so in light of the fact that the bulk of the content is already available online at Wired's website for free. It's ironic that Editor-in-chief Chris Anderson famously wrote a book called "Free" -- the Wired iPad app is the perfect case to try out some of those business models.Of course, the obvious retort is the damn thing sold like hot cakes when it was released. The real question, though is how sustainable will that really be in the long term? As more people realize how much they're paying, they may wonder why. And I'm still confused as to why publications like Wired hype up all these special features for the iPad... but don't offer the same functionality on the web -- which they easily could.