I love Sunday mornings, a bit of a lay in, breakfast with the family and a read of the week’s best paper in my opinion, the Sunday Times. Whilst I love the variety the publication offers with it’s plethora of sections, it’s broadsheet form factor is less than ideal.
Ahead of a long journey a couple of month ago I decided to take a digital plunge and downloaded the Sunday Times for my iPad to save me having to wrestle with the giant pages and blocking the driving view of my wife.
What a refreshing experience. Instantly engaged by the interactive nature and beautiful design that had gone into creating more than 200 pages, all in the palm of my hand. I loved that Land Rover had produced video adverts and that the experience you get in landscape, is different when you switch to portrait.
What they have achieved here is exactly what I wrote about in my last blog. They are delivering content in a form that suits their audiences whilst opening the door to a new demographic. They are embracing the Facebook generation whilst still keeping the oldschool broadsheet lovers perfectly happy.
An increase in market share by using this approach is inevitable but it does come with a considerable associated cost. The desktop publishing work is tripled as another 2 version of every page need recreating, a landscape and a portrait version. There is then the cost of online publication distribution to consider, in most instances managed through a 3 party platform or via vendors such as the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, used by magazines like Wired.
With all this in mind I think News International have made a sound investment. They are already the leader in digital publishing and they got it right first time.
So is this the end of print? Not yet in my opinion. As the aforementioned Facebook generation grows the pendulum will swing but even for the converted, like me, there’s still something about turning a real page that you just can’t get on the iPad.