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Consuming Content through Air


News on your desktop

News on your desktop

Reading a newspaper is an immersive experience. Getting the Saturday newspaper is one of the weekend’s great pleasures. The number of topics covered is large but interesting. I may not read all of it but I will read most of the newspaper. There are usually one or two articles which stick out which are particularly memorable and thought provoking.

However, during the week reading a newspaper is a different matter. I read a newspaper in a different manner which means fitting in reading an article or two when I am on a train, having a sandwich at my desk at work or briefly in the evening after getting the children to bed.

As a result, I buy a newspaper less frequently but I do read their digital versions for catching up on the rugby team I support, business news or technology news. I read the news through my mobile phone or on my laptop. All for free, of course. I also follow a number of blogs which are all ‘aggregated’ through an application called ‘ShareFire’ which presents them all in one place for me to read when I can. ShareFire is a simple, free and easy to use tool which saves me having to log into each blog on the web.

And that is the newspaper publishing industry’s problem in a nutshell. I am a contributor to their current demise. I admit it. I read far more than I ever used to than when I just read a newspaper.

But something caught my collective eye at work today. As a technology company, we are always looking at new trends, technologies and applications. This morning, our ‘Chief Geek’ spotted an blog article by Serge Jespers about an application built in Adobe Air and Flex by The New York Times for their readers.

It’s a free download which provides non-subscribers with a limited amount of news at no charge. To get the full version, you need to pay a subscription of $3.45 a week. You can search the newspaper, watch videos of the news, see the news in pictures all for free too, and all from your desktop (which means that the application loads pages in the background so you can move between them quickly).

Another article today on the BBC technology blog site by Rory Cellan-Jones highlighted an interesting comparison to how the newspaper publishing industry could learn a lot from the English Premiership which is very successful at making sure that people pay for their content through subscriptions. Commentators were saying that the football league example was not good because people are happy to pay for live football games to be streamed onto their TV’s but not so keen on watching highlights or replays. However, news is even more short-lived than a football game and few people want to read yesterday’s newspaper, unless you buy ‘The Week‘ of course.

There is great talk about devices designed specifically to enable people to read eBooks and electronic versions of newspapers and magazines, such as Amazon’s Kindle 2 or Sony’s eReader. But, these are expensive and most people won’t want to fork out a load of money when they already have a decent laptop, web-book or PC from which they can easily read.

So, the development by The New York Times of a branded reader application for their news which enables the publisher to get paid for their content and which helps customers get up to date news in a well presented way is a move which could start to pave the way for the publishing industry to secure its future. I will be watching with interest.

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