We're about four weeks from the launch of the Apple iPad, a device that may reshape the media landscape. And already, content producers are lining up to get a bite: The New York Times has signaled that the iPad will become a major part of its digital strategy, as have HarperCollins and Hulu, the popular video streaming site.
Now two more major outlets, the Associated Press and Conde Nast, have said they will target users of the iPad and other e-reading devices. In a statement released today, the Associated Press unveiled AP Gateway, which will allow the wire service to sell articles and videos directly to readers. Meanwhile, Conde Nast, the publisher of the New Yorker and Wired, among other publications, announced it will provide content specifically designed for the iPad's screen.
“No longer do we have to be held hostage to the constraints of a Web site," AP exec Tom Curley said of the iPad in a speech to the Colorado Press Association last month. "We won’t have to depend on consumers finding our sites among overflowing bookmarks or keyword [searches]. We can deliver news directly to the consumer in exciting new ways.”
For many media companies, the iPad is an enticing prospect – a buzz-worthy device that could make up for major drops in circulation and advertising. Hulu, for instance, has been bleeding money for years; with the iPad, the service could finally start charging users for access. Ditto for the Times.
But not everyone is convinced. Nick Mediati of PC World has argued that in order for outlets to really benefit from the iPad, Apple will have to create some sort of central repository for newspaper and magazine content.
"If Apple can work out a Periodical Store, it would could do for newspapers and magazines what the iPod and iTunes did for music," Mediati wrote. "Without this, part, though, it's up to the publishers to make it work. I think it's still possible that we'll see this sort of thing. Hopefully it's just a matter of Apple negotiating with magazine and newspaper publishers."