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The future of reading

25 Feb

Amazon recently released the second generation Kindle ebook reader that offers more storage and a slimmer design. There’s a text-to-speech feature that reads out books, magazines and newspapers to you, and a better screen that now boasts 16 shades of gray.

As a reviewer of tech gadgets over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate the importance of good design and the Kindles still don’t cut it in the design department. I owned a Kindle while I was in the U.S. more than a year ago, and while there’s no doubt it offers lots of convenience – volumes of books in just need one device – it is not sexy like an iPod or PSP.

I’ve since sold my Kindle, because I can’t download ebooks over the air in Singapore (for that, the Kindle uses Sprint’s EVDO network). Yes, I could buy stuff from the Kindle store and transfer those over via USB, but that means I’m missing out a whole lot on what the Kindle stood for – the convenience of getting books and the New York Times delivered over the air.

Tagged in: Media, newspapers, newsprint,  

Are ads killing good journalism?

10 Feb

Journalism is dying.

Or to be more precise, old-school newspapers and traditional media is dying. Venerable newspapers like the Chicago Tribune have filed for bankruptcy protection, and even the New York Times is under threat.

I was reading this recent interesting commentary by Walter Isaacson — former TIME editor and CNN board member — on how to save journalism using the “old’ idea of charging for content instead of giving it for free online.

This, he says, will pay for good journalism. If good journalism goes the way of the dodo, it will be a loss to society.

I’m not entirely convinced that some newspapers failing is a bad thing. Old media business models will die, but good journalism will survive in some form.

Tagged in: Media, advertising, newspapers,  

Internet ad revenue to go up; newspaper ads, down

18 Dec
1 Comment

It is no surprise really, for those of us not asleep at the wheel, that newspapers are under major threat.

According to this insightful December 9th 2008 press release by market research firm ZenithOptimedia, ad spend on the Internet is scheduled to rise from 10.3% in 2008 to 15.6% in 2011.

Now, if there is an increase in the pie for the internet slice, something else must go down. And this comes mostly at the newspapers expense: from 25.4% in 2008 to 21.2% in 2011.

In terms of numbers, the Internet ad market will rise from around US$50 billion in 2008 to US$84.3 billion in 2011, whilst the newspapers ad market will decrease from US$123 billion in 2008 to about US$115 billion in 2011.

Another piece of interesting news is that, due to the credit crisis, the global ad market will contract (-0.2%) in 2009, with most of the decline in US (-6.7%) and Europe (-1.0%).

Tagged in: Media, advertising, Internet, newspapers,