Have you been E-inked yet?

I have often joked that at my first newspaper job I used a Fred Flintstone-style computer complete with a pterodactyl behind the monitor pecking out the letters. Now, print newspapers may truly be the dinosaurs of history.

Editor & Publisher reported earlier this month about the use of technology to virtually, ok, literally, replace print production of a newspaper and go strictly to an online format. And, why not? (aside from my love of getting a magazine in the mail, thumbing through it and pulling out pages to clip on the fridge) It is more cost-effective, quicker to access and availability is simply a mouse-click away. With less overhead and staff required, the opportunity is there for more money in the publisher’s pocket. Or is there?
By E&P Staff
As print newspaper revenues continue to fall, Bill Richards wrote on the Crosscut Web site that papers may want to look to devices such as Amazon’s Kindle, which use E ink technology.Such devices could make up for the losses in print and make the newspaper industry very profitable.

The Web has taken away both readers and ad money from print papers, but it hasn’t grown ad revenue enough to make up for the losses. Hearst has announced plans to release a wireless online paper within the next two years, using E ink technology with a flexible screen device the size of a tabloid paper.

The costs of an e-paper are mostly fixed because circulation is not an issue. The devices are simply a new delivery system for old content, which eliminate production and distribution costs. The building and general and administrative costs at the paper would shrink with the e-paper being the only version. The staff, like in the hypothetical paper could also be cut in half.

Advertisers may be more interested because the ads are still displayed in the same manner they are in the regular print newspaper because the e-paper screen is the size of a tabloid paper. Ads could also target specific audiences.

Advertising Age has a similar story about how newspapers are looking to digital for ways to increase revenue as print becomes useful only for wrapping up Christmas ornaments to put away until next year.

Contributed by Tonie Auer, president of the DFW ASBPE chapter and national blog committee chairwoman.

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