You can’t hold down angels. — The Soloist
Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist laid down the law on the changing economics of the newspaper industry at an FTC workshop.
Even though online advertising has grown rapidly in the last five years, less than 5% of newspapers’ ad revenue comes from their internet editions, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
Traditionally, the ad revenue from special sections has been used to cross-subsidize the core news production. Nowadays internet users go directly to websites like Edmunds, Orbitz, Epicurious, and Amazon to look for products and services in specialized areas. Not surprisingly, advertisers follow those eyeballs, which makes the traditional cross-subsidization model that newspapers have used far more difficult.
New tablet computers like the Kindle, iPad, and Android devices may encourage people to read online news at home in the comfort of their easy chairs. At Google, we certainly don’t think we have all the solutions, but we are definitely keen on working with the news industry to help it attract bigger audiences and generate more ad revenue.
Experiments like Fast Flip, Living Stories and Starred Stories may help pull together the at-work and at-home access to the news. Online news access on handheld device like cell phones and tablets is likely to be quite different from traditional newspapers reading, with much more multimedia content, interactivity and reader involvement. The transition to a fully online news will be difficult, but there’s a good chance that we will emerge with a significantly more compelling user experience.
Varian’s ten-step plan to turn things around: “Experiment, experiment, experiment.”
The launch of Apple’s iPad will pave the way for a slew of ARM-based products this year, reports ComputerWorld. An ARM executive said Wednesday, over 50 tablet PC devices will be launched globally this year.
“The first tablet devices will launch in the second quarter by [mobile network] carriers,” said Roy Chen, ARM’s worldwide mobile computing ODM manager, during a press meeting in Taipei. “You’ll see a lot more in the third quarter.”
ARM, Intel’s main rival in the mobile microprocessor business, rented more space at the Computex electronics trade show in Taipei this year to show off the devices, in addition to e-readers, mini-laptops and other devices that use ARM processing cores. Google is currently testing Android features on set-top-boxes, too.
The HP Slate supports Flash and runs Windows 7 with an Atom chip.
Can tablet PCs bring life back into newspaper-style reading? The numbers don’t seem to add up. A new category of devices seem unlikely to “save” newspapers, single-handedly. Tablets will bring competition and innovation.
It’s a new medium. Conversational, media-rich, nimble and real-time.
Mark Horvath draws on his dark past to inspire his Web site — Invisiblepeople.tv. The site is a collection of video profiles of homeless people. It’s become a hit.
I’m optimistic that a good story — and good story tellers — will always be in demand.