OnQ Blog

Ereaders Help News Industry get Back to Black

Hi. I’m Cheryl Goodman, chief publicist and marketeer at Qualcomm MEMS Technologies where I’ve been highlighting technology breakthroughs with the mirasol display for the last three years. In that time, I’ve seen profound changes in the marketing and communications function firsthand. Some of these changes are for the better and some not so much, but it seems all have been brought on by a common theme: disruptive technological advances.

As a former journalist, I am hugely attuned to how the news industry has been seemingly shuttered by the Internet, decreasing—if not outright eliminating—profits. As Stephen Colbert quips “What’s black and white and red all over? A newspaper’s balance sheet!” (I’ll be here all night, folks—don’t forget to tip your waitress). Very seriously, though, today’s news industry has been forced to embrace completely new business models driven by new technologies to try to get back into the black. But who’s the best person, I ask, within a news organization to advance these efforts with so many technologies swirling?

At a recent trade show, I realized, when approached by a tech reporter and his colleague, just how much my job has changed. The pair was from one of the nation’s top glossy magazines. The line of questioning about mirasol displays was a little off base from what I normally get from reporters and I suddenly discovered I was talking with the publications’ CTO, alongside the editorial staff! They were interested in hearing about mirasol displays as a story, but the CTO was there gathering info for his ereader business strategy. He was keen on how a color mirasol display and its video functionality could benefit his magazine’s content and business model. He was bouncing around ideas on reader pay models, adverting models, all the while struggling with the need to get up to speed on all the technology options out there, and fast.

Monetization. It’s what keeps news organizations up at night.

I continually talk with news and book publishers, helping them understand their “asks” of ereader manufacturers. News publishers have different demands from ereaders than do book publishers. In a nutshell, magazines and newspapers need more than just book reading capabilities from their ereaders if they intend to move readers from paper to digital reading devices. Publishers need a technology that brings to life the colors, photos, and multimedia experience that are expected from a publication’s website, and they need that experience without draining the battery of the device. Book publishers, for their part, need to think towards the future today to present the consumer with a compelling offer. They need to consider integrating multimedia into literary works that are otherwise text only.

Navigating the waters of new technologies can be cumbersome. If you’d like to learn more about how mirasol displays work or if you have questions, just send me an email. And, if you’re a publisher attending the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference in New York this February, stop by the Qualcomm Booth or try to catch the one of our talks by Jim Cathey, our VP of Business Development.

Keynote: Can the Right Display Technology Drive New Revenue Streams for the Publishing Industry?

Session: Extending Your Content to Digital Format: How Your Technology Choices Can Make or Break the Consumers Experience