Conference Summary: World e-Reading Congress

The inaugural World e-Reading conference was held in London from May 9-11. Suzanne Raitt, VP of Marketing and Innovation. Newspapers Canada, provides a summary of the highlights from this conference.

Interesting statistics

  • 15 million iPads were sold in 2010
  • 32% of iPad users have bought a paid app from a publisher
  • App store spending in 2010 totaling more than US$ 3.8 billion
  • Death of Osama Bin Laden generated 3,000 tweets per second for 2 hours (the highest volume ever recorded)

The Book Business

1) Ian Hudson, Deputy CEO, The Random House Group

  • Indicates that it is a great time to be a reader as there are so many different devices on which to read: phones, tablets, online and of course print
  • Suggests that publishers find unique ways to go to market. For example, they used, a tween doll-dressing site (90 million accounts and 2nd to Facebook in UK) to launch an online book Mortal Kiss. It garnered 17 million page views and 19,000 fans. A clothing brand took off around it. Then they published the physical book and have sold the film rights.
  • Recommends adding new elements to old and new content. For example, publishers can provide vintage podcasts with authors or filmmakers.
  • Encourages embracing apps. For example, Nick Cave’s book The Death of Bunny Munro had an iPad app as part of its launch. The app synchronized the audio book to the test, along with a video of Cave reading the book

2) Victoria Barnsley, CEO and Publisher, Harper Collins

  • Highlights that publishers are always writing their own obituaries. She reminds us that no media has killed another. And the new changes the older technology and makes it better, and it usually thrives.
  • She comments that the question of device (Amazon’s commitment to Kindle), hardware (Apple launching category-defining devices) and search (i.e. Google) bring up copyright, the value of content and who is driving – which is still in its infancy.
  • Barneley encourages the anticipation and creation of new businesses. She suggests creating new subscription models and/or proving “lending” opportunities as examples.

Multimedia businessPaul Keenan, CEO, Bauer Media

Keenan provides the following insights:

  • Mobile means people always want to be on (thanks mainly to Twitter)
  • One-size-fits-all media no longer works. Consumers want it filtered to suit them. They want to be involved (i.e. rate, rank and review). And they want it free.
  • People won’t pay for content, they will pay for an experience
  • On apps, people will pay to save time and effort, but they want to also be entertained.

The Newspaper business

1) Simon Regan Edwards, Production Director, The Sunday Times

Edwards provides his lessons learned during the roll-out of the paid Sunday Times app (which has 22,000 unique iPad users every Sunday, with 2 million pages per week and it is currently the number 1 grossing newspaper app).