Can iPad Replace Print Magazines?

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2181 , Published on 04 June 2012

An interesting video was doing rounds where a little one-year old girl was fidgeting with a magazine. The little girl in all her innocence was trying to zoom in the pictures and flip through the pages by flicking them in the same way one does on an ipad. In the end, she decided that, this ipad does not work and kept it aside.

So the question is, is the paper magazine, just an ipad gone wrong for the new generation? Will it actually replace our good old magazine in a few years?

The case is not so in India. But a growing phenomena which is to be seen in the US and other developed countries where more than 15 million Ipads have been sold.

So, 10% of the total population of US use Touch Phones and devices of brand Apple excluding other brands.

Is print media facing a death?

This question has been raised ever since computers were invented and the concept of the paperless office started being sold. But then, we had printers and the use of papers increased manifold.

Why did computers not gain an acceptance in the way that Ipads did?

1. The computers then were not interactive. They were simply devices where information could be viewed.

2. They modified the way humans handled information and so when printers were invented, humans went back to their original way of handling information i.e. flipping through the pages

What has the interactive media devices done to the humans?

Philip Kotler says, “Marketing is satisfying the needs of the consumers profitably”. Finding out the right customer orientation is necessary to become successful and touch screens have hit the right area since they do not change a customer behaviour rather they adapt to the customer needs and his mode of handling information.

FlipBoard, a social media magazine is one such example which has clearly found the customer orientation. It is a very successful application which has had more than 3 million downloads. In fact, it has been named as the best App by Apple and one of the top 50 innovations by the Time magazine. What differentiates FlipBoard:

  1. Flipping through the pages, simulating an actual magazine
  2. Customizing the content i.e. each person can have their own newspaper
  3. Fresh content being pulled out according to the user preferences
  4. Videos can also be seen in these magazines

Beats the newspaper ‘Daily Prophet’ in Harry Potter because even there, you could not customize your content and get real time news.

In fact, Josh Quittner is the FlipBoard’s first editor director and he headed the editorial team of before. So, when a die-hard journalist adapts himself to the changing times, the evolution is in the fore.

But, does this mark the immediate end of the magazines or the paper culture? We have again come to a cross road where even before the actual sales have been made. Even if we do a situation analysis of it right now, the Paper is not going to take a back seat very soon.

1. For the example of a developed country, let us take United States –13.5 births/1,000 population (2010 est.). This is the lowest in a century. So, the early adopters of the new technology will take time to form a majority in the country. And this is the case with all the developed countries where the birth rate is low and the average age of the country high.

2. For a developing country, let us take the example of India- Magazines are any day much cheaper than the Ipads and hence having a substantial amount of disposable income is necessary. According to a McKinsey Report, by 2025 the number of affluent households with disposable incomes will increase to 250 million. Hence the revolution will take time to flourish in whole sense.

3. Anyone who bets over China claiming that the demographics of China is similar to that of India, needs to know that Chinese economy is flourishing not because of internal trade but because of the manufacturing giant that it is and the exports that it does. So if the economy of the world takes a hit, it is simply a cyclic process and these touch points i.e. the ipads will come in the category of “wants” yet and not “needs”

4. And with the financial crisis looming large over the world, it does not paint rosy picture any more.

So why does this question arise. Because, though not the present it is going to influence our future. The touch screens have changed or rewired the programming of the young kids on block and this is surely going to be a game changer.

The digital world is a reality to the young guns. The magazines seem to be like an Ipad just gone bad!!

Is this our future? Well, not immediately but slowly and steadily, Yes.

This article has been authored by Ritika Murarka from WE School.

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