Adapting to the changes in technology

Just during my lifetime I have witnessed a fundamental shift in the way people use technology. When I was little, my family owned one computer. My dad used it to type letters and write checks. I used it to play Reader Rabbit. Fast forward 15 years and my family of four owns four desktop computers, three laptops and enough spare parts to probably build a few more desktop computers.

With each passing year, I find myself more and more attached to technology.

So, what does all this new technology mean for the media?

Media have to look at how teens use technology and consume news to know where to move forward and maintain a product that will be prosperous for years to come.

Americans are adapting to technology faster than ever. First quarter sales of Apple’s iPad is more than four times higher than first quarter sales of its iPhone.

technolgy adaption

Comparison of first quarter sales of the iPad, iPhone and DVD player. Figures from Graphic: Brian Smith

The iPad and other tablet devices being developed present a new opportunity for media companies to provide information to the public. People are carrying iPads on the go and the applications even allow media outlets to deliver customized alerts directly to an interested public. Publishing mobile alerts doesn’t carry the additional costs of printing extra editions of newspapers or trumping primetime television for a special newscast.

What does the data say?

Today’s youth are using these new technologies. They are less accustom to reading things in print or watching TV news. The future of news will be about providing news in whatever method the public demands.

A recent poll by the Harrison Group shows that tablet users spend 75 percent more time reading newspapers than non-tablet user. A Los Angeles Times blog on the survey shows that users are even more willing to pay for the newspapers they read.

But these are dark days for content publishers, and the survey offers a rare glimmer of hope. Tablet and digital-reader owners are more willing to pay for electronic books and periodicals. Between 82% and 86% say they’d be willing to pay, compared with 62% of the overall population.

While iPads and other moblie devices may not be the savior for media, they certainly present an opportunity to reach with a wider audience. Quick adapters to the iPad will be better positioned to tackle the next big technological breakthrough.

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