Week in Review

Short reads on a Saturday morning:

• Poynter got a sneak preview of the new IBM Media & Entertainment Group study which concludes that the online newspaper audience is declining while older readers are finally discovering social media. I’ll wait until I see the actual study to draw any real conclusions, but I must admit one thing stands out immediately: the claim that newspapers can expect further declines in readership online. This claim, it seems to me, is based on the assumption that newspapers will continue to make the same mistakes they are now — organizing their new online as they would in print.

For instance, look at the round-up of tablet rumors below. Each story comes from many different sources, yet much of this material can be found either here at TNM or at MacRumors or sites like that — all sites not considered a newspaper site. In other words, once newspapers editors understand that they need to be aggregating news as well as producing original news, then many online readers will stick with their newspaper branded sites.

• Tablet rumor round-up (last week!):

Apple was apparently hard at work talking to book publishers in order to get them lined up for their new device.  This story has them taking to McGraw-Hill and Hachette, while this one has them talking to HarperCollins.
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The WSJ wrote that “Steve Jobs’s Tablet Device Looks to Repackage TV, Magazines, Just as iPod Changed Music Sales”. We’ll see about that. But as The Mac Observer wrote the last thing the traditional publishers should be worried about is Apple entering the market — they should be looking forward to it. My guess is that a few newspaper companies, including the NYT are making sure their content is available on Day One. The question is: in what form?

Rumors continue about the fabled tablet’s specs, but the general consensus seems to be that it will look like the rendering above.

• Meanwhile, Amazon, makers of the endangered Kindle announced that soon they will be “letting programmers create what it calls active content — similar to applications — for the Kindle and keep 70 percent of the revenue from each sale after paying for wireless delivery costs”, according to the New York Times story. Ironically, even this tidbit was buried in a story that featured more rumors about Apple’s tablet. It will be a rough weekend for makers of tablets and e-readers as they wait for Wednesday.

• Freedom Newspapers were able to reach a deal with its creditors allowing it to exit bankruptcy by the end of March.

• Everyone’s heard of the announcement that the New York Times will indeed put up a pay wall in 2011, right?

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