The iPad and the end of free online content?

After two months of promise and hype, Apple will finally ship its iPad tablet in the US in early April, and to other markets shortly afterwards. Apple’s new device hopes to make the consumption of digital media easier. The iPad is able to browse the web without the need for a keyboard or mouse. Movies and music can both seen and heard on the device. Even eBooks can be purchased from Apple’s new iBooks store. Marvellous.

However, from watching the video above, are consumers really willing to pay for online news and entertainment, that they currently get for free on the web today?

Nielsen recently asked more than 27,000 consumers across 52 countries, and the answer was ‘maybe.’ 85% of surveyed people prefer free content to remain free. However, participants did report, that many would consider paying for certain categories of digital content.

Looking at Nielson’s graph below, consumers are most likely to pay for movies, music, games and current TV shows. This is good news for Apple and other developers of Tablet devices. In contrast, consumers are least likely to pay for ‘user generated content’ such as podcasts and consumer generated videos and blogs.


The success of the Apple’s iPad, will likely depend on whether everyday consumers are happy to trade in their existing books, magazines and newspapers for digital equivalents. These items have become somewhat of a commodity, and many people are happy to access content from a variety of online sources for example, Google News for free. However, Rupert’s Murdoch’s News Corporation, will soon charge for online newspaper content, ending the “free online news” culture that many observe on the web today. This will likely have a big impact on Google News, which currently aggregates free news content from Murdoch’s news empire.

It is interesting to note from Nielson’s research, that there is indeed a place for “paid digital content.” However, the content will need to be of a sufficient standard before consumers are willing to hand over their hard earned cash.

  • 78% of participants felt that if they already subscribe to a newspaper, magazine, radio or TV service, they should be able to access the online version for free.
  • 79% of participants stated that they would stop using a website, if it started levying charges to access content online.
  • 62% of participants stated that they should have “full control” over their purchased content. In other words, they want to be able to copy and share it with their friends and family. 

2010 will indeed be an interesting year for hardware devices and the content that powers them. Whether consumers are willing to ditch their newspapers and magazines for their digital counterparts, and pay for news content is still yet to be seen.  Newspapers and books are cheap, portable and don’t require batteries to power them. The same can’t be said about tablet devices! Also, I wonder how many people will actually travel around with these devices? I suspect many will end up living at home.

Will you be getting a tablet device this year?

You can read Nielson’s full report below

Nielson – Paid Online Content

1 word, 28 actors and one phone to rule them all?

The 2007 Oscar award night teaser trailer of the iPhone cost Apple $1.7 million, possibly the most expensive “hello” in history!

Apple’s iPhone should be termed the Web 2.0 phone really. The iPhone has not even been launched yet, with Apple already working on a new version with added 3G functionality. The Apple, web pitch builds momentum.

Its interesting to see Apple using “Hello” again to promote the iPhone, a strategy first applied to the 1st generation iMac.

Come on Apple, where is the support for Office apps and “push” email.

A wonderful Web Pitch by Steve Jobs

Its been covered to death by the tech press over the last few weeks. However, Steve Jobs blogged for the first time on his “Thoughts on Music” pitch on

Apple has been facing continued criticism from various European countries over the “locked” architecture of the iPod. If you buy music from the iTunes store, you can only play it back on iTunes or on your iPod. The technology is known as “Fairplay” and is Apple’s DRM – Digital Rights Management software.

Apple’s PR and Jobs have done wonders in conveying how Apple is “against” the restrictions of using DRM technologies but are forced to use them by the big four record companies. Jobs making the point that Apple are the “good karma guys” who resist DRM but the “bad guys” are the big music four, who insist on the restrictions.

A nice example of “spin”, good PR and how a blog pitch can force record companies to rethink their strategies on securing digital music.