Friday, February 4, 2011

Buy-Anywhere Options, Not Devices, Will Be Key to Digital Publishing Success

I just finished a keynote presentation titled Why Should You Be Interested in Mobile Devices and Application Development? at UMass Boston Mobile Boot Camp. In the presentation I talked a lot about content distribution and how it is changing. Things like App Stores, Software As A Service (SAAS) and how we have different options now in the way we purchase, install and manage our purchased digital content. ABI Research has a new study titled Digital Publishing for Portable Devices, which foresees digital content sales growing to nearly $16.5 billion worldwide in 2016, more than five times their 2010 level. Here's a piece from an ABI press release:

Despite the enormous media focus on iPads, Kindles, Nooks and other eReaders, the market for digital content will not be tied to the success or failure of any single one of these devices, according to the new study. “Consumers can purchase digital texts through their PCs or smartphones, in addition to buying directly through their eReaders,” explains Larry Fisher, research director of NextGen, ABI Research’s emerging technologies research incubator. “The variety of applications that allow people to buy this digital content reassures them that they won’t be tied to a single store—or device—for content.”
Barriers still exist - here's more:
Significant barriers to the growth of digital publishing remain, however, including licensing of back catalog material, the conversion of publishing workflows designed specifically for digital instead of print content, and most importantly for periodicals, pricing. Paying for single issues of magazines and newspapers on the iPad in particular has met with resistance from subscribers accustomed to bargain-priced subscriptions rather than one-off sales. Still, says Fisher, “One-off sales won’t keep publishers from selling content to other device users, and Apple will likely offer some form of subscription service eventually.”
What now things will we see next year?
Digital text sales will get an extra boost in 2012 as some of these challenges are met and high-quality color eInk readers become widely available. Although such readers are currently on the market, they do not offer the full saturation color that print magazine readers have come to expect. Magazine and newspaper readership will still be greater on LCD-screen readers and tablet computers that can handle video and other graphics requiring a fast refresh rate.
 You can get more information on the ABI Research report linked here.

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