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Paid Content and the iPad Catalyst

Earlier this week, the new Chairman of the UK television network ITV, Archie Norman, e-mailed all his staff requesting they contact him directly with comments on a new strategy for how the company can move forward. 

But the comments he makes later in the Telegraph article show what he thinks the future of TV networks is likely to be, paid content on mobile devices and computers.  And the mobile device he specifically mentions?  Of course, the iPad!

"I think it is very likely [we will use some elements of pay-TV] because one of the things that is going to happen as people consume their television off different platforms — such as internet-enabled TV, off your laptop, off your iPad as you commute to work — for some parts of the content that ITV own or others own, people will pay."

This is interesting because it shows how major content providers see us using our iPads, as well as other mobile devices.  The rest of the Telegraph article is worth reading too for an idea of how corporate networks are thinking.

In another news story this morning, the BBC are reporting that UK newspapers the Times and the Sunday Times will begin charging for access to their online news service from June.  They will launch new versions of their websites in May, offering an initial free trial period, before charging £1 for one day's access or £2 a week for a regular subscription.  It is not something we are used to here in the UK so, as the article says, it will be interesting to see whether this 'high risk strategy' pays off, or if people instead go to the free sources of news that abound around the Internet.

The New York Times is itself reporting that advertisers are going for a 'land grab' of sorts over advertising space in certain iPad apps before the April 3 launch.  The NY Times comments that this is arguably the hottest time to be in front of punters' eyes whilst the excitement lasts.

Those of us familiar with the iPad launch event will remember well the New York Times demo of their app for the iPad, and this is certainly how many people see themselves using the iPad.

The iPad Catalyst

You may think it is going a little too far calling the introduction of the iPad a catalyst, but that is how many see it, for the content creators especially.

Just like the iTunes store affected the music sales model and the iPhone shaped the development of 'SmartPhone' or mobile apps, we think the iPad has the potential to shape the future of content delivery.

Whether the 'paid content' model works or not is going to depend on a lot of factors, some of those being cost, quality of content, accessibility (i.e. independent stores or everything routed via Apple's iTunes/iBookstore), and quality of service, especially for video based content.

Have an opinion about paid content on the iPad?  Let us know in the comments.