Sunday, February 22, 2009

Japanese News on the iPhone

As we constantly read about the demise of newsprint around the world we often wonder how such a vital service such as news will survive or how it will change in the digital world.

In Japan, three of the major newspapers, who a year ago formed as part of the Nikkei-Asahi-Yomiuri group, launched a joint web site that featured all their articles, have now collaborated to bring their content collectively to the iPhone and iTouch. Their joint application now delivers, the cover stories, city news items, editorials, and pictures to iPhone owners, letting them browse and compare the coverage of news stories by the different papers all within one single interface.

The application only provides abstracts and the reader then has to click on a link to go to the paper's main web site. In comparison, another news organization, Sankei Shimbun’s application provides the full text.

The big question is how to make money giving away content, via free applications and web sites. The costs don’t go away, the jounalists, editors, presses all still need to be paid. As newsprint experiments, some would suggest that the they are in grave danger of letting the money genie out of the bottle and getting him back in, may prove as difficult or impossible as the music business have found.

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