Apple iPad users are likely to kill their print newspaper subscriptions, according to a new survey. Will that encourage iPad-only publications?
Apple's iPad is killing print newspaper subscriptions, according to a new
survey by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University
of Missouri. However, its data also
suggests the iPad is becoming a new channel for people's daily news, offering
hope that at least some of the iPad-exclusive publications in the pipeline can
Around 84.4 percent of the survey's 1,600 participants said they use their
iPad to follow breaking news and current events. Some 78.56 percent of those
respondents spent 30 minutes a day using their iPad to consume news, while 48.9
percent spent an hour or more.
Another 89.2 percent of respondents used a PC to read news during the day.
Of the three-quarters who used iPhones, 70 percent reported using it to read
But in a potentially worrisome bit of data for traditional newspaper owners,
around 58.1 percent of respondents who subscribe to print newspapers said they
would likely cancel that subscription within the next six months. Another 10.7
percent said they had already canceled their subscriptions in favor of
digital-only news consumption through their iPad.
"These findings are encouraging for newspaper publishers who plan to
begin charging for subscriptions on their iPad app editions early next year,"
Roger Fidler, the Institute's program director for digital publish and research
project leader, wrote in a Dec. 9 statement, "but our survey also found a
potential downside: iPad news apps may diminish newspaper print subscriptions
The popularity of the Apple iPad, along with e-readers such as Amazon.com's
Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook, has left publishers scrambling for the
best way to embrace this emerging digital paradigm. Many newspapers and
magazines now offer themselves in an e-format, in addition to their print
Other companies have been exploring the possibilities of digital-only
publishing. For example, Apple CEO Steve
Jobs and News Corp magnate Rupert Murdoch are reportedly planning to launch a
tablet-only newspaper within the next few weeks.
Murdoch himself seemed to confirm many of that e-newspaper's details in a
Nov. 9 interview with The
Australian Financial Review.
"I'm starting a paper in six weeks,"
he reportedly said. "It will only be seen on tablets. It will only employ
journalists-and maybe eight to 10
He suggested the publication will be called The Daily: "We wanted to
call it the Daily Planet, but DC Comics [owners of the Superman copyright] were
According to Murdoch, The Daily will require a circulation of around 800,000
readers paying $1 per week-a number he implied in the interview was well within
grasp. If such an e-newspaper (or "iNewspaper") succeeds in the
market, of course, it would likely encourage rival companies to pursue a
similar iPad strategy-and likely give traditional newspaper publishers even
more reason for concern.