Thursday, December 3, 2009

Time previews Sports Illustrated tablet magazine

If you follow MacRumors you know that there has been a lot of discussion about both a new tablet product from Apple, as well as its possible impact on the magazine world.

Now Time has posted a video on YouTube that demonstrates the new Sports Illustrated as seen on a reader:

This is certainly a major step ahead of the traditional "flipbook" solution. What I see, however, is not a magazine solution for the web, but a new way to do web publishing (or at least, tablet/reader publishing).

Magazines and newspapers are dying, right? So the thought is that we need a magic pill that will "save our magazine/newspaper", and that pill will most likely result in some sort of new product -- a tablet/reader version of the magazine, a new web product of some kind.

This is all great. I agree that creating new products for the web or for a reader is a great idea. But that is not the same as saving the magazine -- that is saving jobs, creating a new ancillary product, a new revenue stream. But if the print magazine folds, it folds. There is, in my opinion, no such thing as "going web only". If the magazine folds and a new web presence emerges what you have done is kill one product and create a new one (and to repeat, there is nothing wrong with that). That brings us back to the kinds of arguments that Paul Conley has been making: are print editors really what you need when you create new web products.

OK, so what about tablet readers? and what about what Apple is doing in this area? More to come, for sure.

To read more about Time's prototype, read Peter Kafka's take on this on the All Things Digital page.