Monday, September 12, 2011

Philadelphia newspapers move into the tablet age

This will be an interesting experiment: Philadelphia Media Network—owner of the Inquirer and the Daily News—starts a project today to distribute 5,000 discounted Android tablets pre-loaded to discounted digital editions of both newspapers. The Inky doesn't say what kind of Android tablet, but it's worth noting none of the Android tablets released so far have posed much of a challenge to Apple's iPad. So there's a bit of a "government cheese" feel to the project: If information can't be free, I'm not sure if it does your brand a huge amount of good to be associated with a (discounted!) second-tier product. On the other hand: Several other newspaper chains are considering a similar move, so perhaps desperate newspapers will popularize the Android tablet platform to an extent that Android couldn't do on its own.

The Inquirer, meanwhile, is launching its own "new multimedia Inquirer tablet app"for iPad. (Actually, it launched Aug. 26, but is just now being announced.) It's not that new—it's a single-branded version of the multi-newspaper PressReader app that the Inquirer was already promoting as its tablet app—and it's not that multimedia: Basically it's a PDF of the paper, and if you push a button a computer voice will read the stories to you.

You've got to applaud the Philadelphia Media Network for trying something bold with its tablet experiment. On the other hand, the replica edition that's available seems like weak tea. We'll see if it works.

UPDATE: Ad Week has more details

1 comment:

John Paul Titlow said...

Thanks for sharing this. I hadn't seen the Inky app for iPad. At first glance, I'm not that impressed. Like the desktop-based digital reader, the user experience on this feels strange and proprietary, not like something that takes advantage of the tablet form factor.

But it's a start. It's not everyday you hear about "legacy" media companies trying something completely new and different. Even if the first iteration isn't perfect, you have to give them credit for trying to innovate.