29 November 2011

ADWEEK: Magazines Pull Back on Tablet Bells and Whistles

imageNostraChuckus is in a meandering mood today. Not really headed anywhere, he has no idea where he’ll end up, isn’t even sure of what mundane prognostication he might proclaim.

Our humdrum Soothsayer saw this a few days ago:

Will Baby Boomers kill the daily newspaper?
imageBy Paul Briand
At one time, the thought was that the daily printed daily newspaper would be around as long as Baby Boomers are around.

But industry experts say the tablet reader -- theApple  iPad and its ilk -- may indeed attract enough Baby Boomer readers as to help render the printed paper to dinosaur status at some point…

That’ll probably happen eventually. It’s not exactly new news – not even new in 2006:

Baby Boomers Burst Online
imageThree of five adults 55 years and older, known to be the heaviest consumers of offline media such as newspapers and TV network news, say they use the Internet more today than they did a year ago. This data is supported by Com Score Media Metrix research, which finds the number of online adults aged 55 and older grew by 20 percent to reach over 27 million in 2005.

OK, but there’s this:

Magazines Pull Back on Tablet Bells and Whistles
imageBy Lucia Moses
Publishers say their research shows having a tricked-out app isn’t the highest priority. “The number one benefit is to have a great reading experience reading the tablet,” says Steve Sachs, executive vice president of consumer marketing and sales at Time Inc.

Hmmm.  Sounds familiar.  I think NostraChuckus divined something like this a year and a half ago…

Foretellings (May 2010)
… The more people use smartphones (and tablets), the less they’ll tolerate silly graphical doodads mucking up their small  screens.

That silly retronym “traditional advertising” will remain the premiere force for introducing people to a product or service, along with sustaining its shelf life. Television, print, radio, and billboard ads will continue to have the visceral power they’ve always had – if only for their sheer size, simplicity, and cutting-edge audio/visual qualities.  Advertising on smartphones will be considered an annoyance, invasive, and rather dinky – while marketing (coupons on steroids, and more) will flourish and dominate.

More “sounds familiar” – Tablets, magazines, television, radio as a passive experience:

Positioning Magazines for Baby Boomers (April 2007)
There are active and passive parts of our day. Without getting into too much psychobabble, as you get older the passive side needs more nourishment. It’s not really passive. It’s focused absorption. At some point you have to climb out of your frenetic digital nest and concentrate on one thing. It might be reading a book, watching a TV show or movie, listening to music, looking out the window.

Or immersing yourself in a magazine.

This isn’t ‘down time’ (that would be sleeping), but nourishing your psyche by absorbing and not actively being involved in what you’re doing.

NostraChuckus has some new mundane predictions.  His Crystal Ball of Common Sense tells him that the business world is too hung up on the operating systems and branding of smartphones and tablets, that within the next five years there will be all sorts of smartphones and tablets in all shapes and sizes, all with different functions and capabilities. 

At first, folks carried around their iPads as status symbols.  Now, no one cares – so they’re left at home.  Tablets will become much bigger, lighter, and will be on your coffee table.  You’ll lie on the couch and pick it up, reading your favorite magazines, newspapers, or whatever.  A passive experience.  Simple, straightforward advertising will not be considered invasive. 

You will have the option of using your tablet as an active device – but most people will be ‘active’ on their computers and smartphones.