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The Financial Times is one of the few major print publishers that has succeeded in a big way with paid content. And while other print publishers who hoped that the iPad would help them revitalize their businesses struggle with the iPad, the FT looks like it has extended its existing success to the platform.
According to The Guardian, the FT's iPad app has now produced more than £1m in ad revenue since it was released to the public in May. What's more: of the 400,000 people who have downloaded the app, a decent number are subscribing; the iPad app now delivers 10% of the FT's new digital subscribers.
Prior to the launch of the iPad, many magazine publishers hoped that the iPad might do for them what the iPod and iTunes did for digital music: provided a viable marketplace for them to sell their wares. Operative word: sell.
Getting consumers to pay for content has, of course, proven challenging for many magazine publishers. And despite the warm reception the iPad has received from consumers, it hasn't exactly meant overnight success for publishers that have rushed to develop iPad versions of their magazines.
Back when social media first burst into the mainstream in a big way and popular Web 2.0 services like Digg and Flickr were the subject of articles touting phrases such as "the wisdom of crowds" and buzzwords like "democratization," it might have seemed that the web was truly changing the fundamental dynamics of information distribution.
But a new CNN study hints that some of the hype around this notion has been overblown.
On Wednesday, the world's largest social network, Facebook, announced several new features. One of the biggest: a new "Download Your Information" feature that, as the name hints, gives Facebook users the ability to export and download much of their profile information in a single ZIP file.
It's something that just a year or two ago probably would have been inconceivable. After all, if Facebook controls your content, chances are you won't leave Facebook. But at 500m users and growing, Facebook doesn't seem concerned that freeing user data will lead to a mass exodus.
When Google TV was first announced, I wrote that it "might be one of the most important things the company has attempted." If successful, Google would do nothing less than realize the dream of television-web convergence.
But I also noted that execution was key, and there was no shortage of skeptics who questioned whether Google would be able to put it all together.
Newspapers? Dying? Television? Might as well die too. New media? That's where future empires will be built.
At least that's what some have been claiming since blogging and 'new media' became a mainstream phenomenon. And to be sure, new media's future does look bright. But is it as bright as many had predicted? Perhaps not.
Google may be the most dominant search engine in many parts of the world, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have its work cut out for it in meeting future challenges.
One of those challenges: tapping into all the links that are being shared on services like Facebook and Twitter. After all, the links sharing that takes place on these services represents a potentially valuable 'signal' that Google can factor into its algorithm.
If you're the head of a struggling newspaper, The Huffington Post has an enviable business model. While content production is almost always the greatest cost in running a publishing/media business, it largely relies on the writing of an unpaid army of contributors. The value proposition the HuffPo offers them: exposure to a very large audience.
It's a model that has been the source of controversy. After all, the HuffPo is a for-profit business, yet it doesn't pay the vast majority of the individuals who labor for it. That's an especially interesting thing for a company founded by a person who wrote a book entitled "Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America."
Microsoft has largely been absent during the rise of self-publishing and social media. But that doesn't mean that it hasn't tried to compete. In 2004, it launched its own self-publishing/social networking platform, MSN Spaces. Today, that platform is known as Windows Live Spaces. Or, more appropriately, is not known as Windows Live Spaces.
That, of course, is because Windows Live Spaces is hardly a prominent platform in a world dominated by more successful publishing and social networking platforms.
Many large tech companies file lots of patents each year and although many, if not most, of them aren't very interesting, every once in a while somebody stumbles upon an interesting one.
Case in point: a pay-to-preview patent Amazon filed for in 2004 and which was granted earlier this week.
Despite the fact that many publishers have struggled to transform ad-supported content into profit, many publishers have opted to keep the ad-supported content, and forgo a paywall.
And there's a good reason why: it's entirely unclear to many publishers whether a paywall will be profitable or not, and once a paywall goes up, a publisher's audience will almost certainly drop. For many publishers, ad-supported content and a large audience is still more attractive than paid content and a smaller audience.
Rupert Murdoch's News International may still have a long way to go in convincing the world that it can succeed by putting its newspaper websites behind a paywall, but that doesn't mean that News International isn't confident that it will eventually succeed with the paywall model.
In a sign of its confidence, it is putting the website of the UK's top-selling Sunday newspaper, News of the World, behind the News International paywall in October.