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Thursday, 3 February 2011

Should we be getting excited about tablet newspapers?

This week, Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. empire, pioneered ahead with the launch of The Daily, the first iPad newspaper.  Murdoch is better known for his tabloid newspapers has made the transition to the tablet format at a time when many newspapers are fighting for survival.

The Daily launch event, picture from The Washington Post

With so many dynamic options like blogs, online newspapers, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you really wonder if a somewhat static tablet newspaper is actually the way forward.  This really got me thinking personally and I remembered a quote that I'd given to some of our Sales Advisors right at the start of January as they got ready for a new year of sales from none other than Rupert Murdoch.

The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow. - Rupert Murdoch

At a time where we've seen big business try and battle it out with disruptive technologies, Murdoch has clearly recognized that he needs to move ahead of the curve.  No one probably expected the Apple iPad to be as big a phenomenon as it turned out to be, but it did.  The iPad was a disruptive technology and it altered unexpectedly the plan of many technology companies that were pitching the netbook as the next big frontier technology during a recessionary period.

Disruptive technologies like Napster (which changed the way music is now distributed), Skype (which has changed telephony) or Facebook (which has arguably been one of the biggest drivers of driving people to start accessing the Internet over a smartphone) all emerged in industries dominated by giants.

Murdoch knows that he's the biggest giant in his industry and before an unknown entity knocks him off his pedestal, it was probably best to pre-empt it with the launch of the The Daily.  His quote clearly says its now not about size but speed.

Now it'll be a question of whether the first mover advantage works or not.  There has been a lot of debate if strategically what Murdoch is doing is correct, including this discussion that was on Dubai Eye this morning between Jessica Swann and Alexander McNabb.  In either case, we wait to see if this is the disruptive technology shift Murdoch expects it to be or whether it is a precursor to another piece of disruptive technology that comes in from an uknown entity.

All we can say right now though is, get your tablet if you can because you will surely be using it going forward.

Posted By: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics