The Newsonomics of tablets replacing newspapers

What happens if people adopt tablets too quickly?

Ken Doctor via Nieman Lab:

…Publishers are just beginning to ask themselves, what if news consumers like these tablets so much and so quickly (maybe even taking them to bed, forsaking the soon-to-be-jilted smartphone) that print readers flee from musty, old newsprint even more quickly than they have over the last difficult decade? What if newspaper readers, clearly pivotal early adopters of the iPad, decide they really don’t need the paper anymore — that they’ve got the paper, in almost-paper-like form right in front of them, more environmentally friendly and updating throughout the day?

That’s when the euphoria can turn to sudden dread. It’s great that readers want — and may pay for — news on the tablet, but if they flee print more quickly, how will that play havoc with the business model of news and magazine publishing? Today, entering 2011, no U.S. news company makes more than 16 percent of its total revenues from digital; all depend on print for 84 percent or more of their journalist-paying income. They’ve been transitioning, and transitioning, and transitioning — yet they’re only one-fifth of their way into it by the metric that matters most.

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