Tablet computers provide a good story for print outlets

Wired recently unveiled exclusive content - in this case working with actor Will Farrell on four short films - for its iPad version, while Time Warner says it plans to make tablet-computer versions of titles such as Time, People, and Real Simple available free to current print subscribers

In the news

Wired recently unveiled exclusive content - in this case working with actor Will Farrell on four short films - for its iPad version, while Time Warner says it plans to make tablet-computer versions of titles such as Time, People, and Real Simple available free to current print subscribers.

Why does it matter?

Though they're still trying to fine-tune details such as pricing models, it's easy to see why print magazines are very interested in the iPad - unlike the Web, consumers actually seem willing to pay for content on this latest Apple device.

But Mark McCluskey, special projects editor at Wired, suggests the iPad also offers some journalistic advantages. "It's a way to combine the multimedia creativity the Web enables with some of those virtues of print: the really tight control over design and presentation," he says. "Our hope is for a more organic integration of multimedia and text where you won't have to read a story and then go to a photo gallery, something that still exists at a lot of places online."

McCluskey suggests the migration of print magazines to tablet computers could enhance the PR pro-journalist relationship. "If you provide good material or smart packaging that make a journalist's job easier," he adds, "that probably will be appreciated even more. Things like good b-roll help."

Tim Smith, founder of Bay-area based Element PR, said most PR pros should already be accustomed to providing reporters with multimedia content thanks to the Web, so the rise the of tablet computers as a magazine platform shouldn't change media outreach strategies much.

"Reporters already look for video and multimedia to complement their stories," he says, adding the real benefit for PR will be new revenue streams for these magazines, which should create a healthier media landscape. "This is a new business model that will keep more reporters employed."

Key facts

1 Total sales of the iPad have already reached 4 million since its debut earlier this year and are expected to reach 8 million globally by the end of 2010

2 Among magazines already on or slated for the iPad are Fortune, Glamour, Sports Illustrated, and People

3 Richard Branson's Virgin Media Group became the first major publisher to announce the launch of an iPad-only magazine, Maverick. Revenue is going to be generated from subscriptions, downloads, and ads

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