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Which came first: the publisher or the advertiser? Following the ereader money trail.

In my last post, I talked about how magazines and newspaper publishers are looking for more capabilities in devices than just black and white and/or static content. I talked about how publishers want a technology that takes reading to the next level, indeed, enables a more interactive experience.

During a recent meeting in New York with several executives in the magazine publishing industry, I was reminded that that while editorial content is king, of equal importance to the publishing industry is the interests and capabilities of advertising content. Publishers must consider the interests of advertisers when making technology choices. It’s an interesting new blend of interest groups. One thing is for certain, debates continue about the value of color and video in editorial content, but for advertisers there’s no question. Color and video are a “must have” feature.

With the mass movement of content to new devices like ereaders, publishers and advertisers are looking to take advantage of available technologies to keep and grow both readership and revenue. The publishing and advertising industries have faced endless challenges from the omnipresence of online content, but advertisers have had to be especially creative in dealing with a limited consumer attention span in our multi-medium, multi-channel world. Moving forward in this age of dedicated reading devices and applications, advertisers will embrace full-page color and video-based ad options where none existed before (let’s talk later about the fiscal and mental importance a “page” in the digital world).

As ereaders and tablets continue to enter the market and move towards one another in features, I see the usual focus on editorial and advertising content, but I also think these new devices will drive a new and vigorous emphasis on specs like color quality, video capabilities, energy efficiency and battery life, and the ability to view outdoors (all display related). We’ve started to see publishers really value and push these elements, and now advertisers are backing them up, as well.

So, who’s leading this massive industry migration? Is it publishers? Is it advertisers? Or maybe it’s technology hopping down the money trail? Tell me what you think.

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