Sporting News Today – An interesting digital “newspaper” experiment

Last week “Sporting News Today“.It first looks like a traditional “epaper” version of a newspaper with the differences that the paper format is not portrait but landscape. But this newspaper is not going to be printed, at least not at the publishers premises. It is an all digital newspaper that is delivered to it’s subscribers via an email containing a link to the current issue on the web. Sporting News Today purpose is to fill the gap between the breaking news on sportingnews.com and the bi-weekly Sporting News magazine.

Hence it is a very interesting experiment in bridging the digital divide and makes IMHO much more sense than all the other e-reader publications of other main stream media houses, which are merely copies of the printed publications (e.g. the recently announced Read and Go initiative of Orange and some french newspapers)

The progressiveness of this experiment is also reflected in the content as the following quotes from the first editorial shows:

Unique insights from our new “columnists”—the 22 current college football stars who’ve signed on to write in-season diaries every week. Our roster is an NCAA Who’s Who, with Heisman hopefuls Chase Daniel (Missouri), Colt McCoy (Texas) and Pat White (West Virginia) at the head of the class.

Frequent opportunities for you, the reader, to also take turns playing writer. We’ll dedicate space in Sporting News Today to fans’ takes on select big games and news. You’ll get a byline, file to an editor, maybe even catch grief from readers.

Unlike your daily newspaper, which went to press before the clock struck midnight, we’ll have full coverage of that 17-inning Dodgers-Rockies game. We’ll have coverage of the Olympics and golf, the Little League World Series and tennis. As other media outlets scale back on pages and people, we’re getting bigger and better. Next month, we’ll debut the newand- improved Sporting News magazine— which we also think you’ll like.

In order to receeive all these goods you don’t have to pay any money, you have to sign up by providing your Name, age and email address, The web issue is powered by a technology called “Published Web Format” from Texterity. In addition to reading online, you can also download an pdf (1st Edition) as well as applications for both PC and Mac. Texterity also provides an iPhone version of it’s web app. So being it able to read on my dream reading device should be easy :-)

Looking at the source code of the web page you can find the following comment:

The Texterity system provides a vivid replica of the print edition, while
readers experience their magazine very much like an ink-and-paper version.

Texterity provides a complete solution that reaches out to readers,
customers, and prospects via managed e-mail delivery. No applications,
plug-ins, or downloads are necessary. It's as easy as using a Web
browser. 

Texterity powerful tracking features report on the total number of readers,
how much time they spend reading, and which sections of each document they
visit most often, all while protecting the privacy of individuals.

This shows that sportingnews hopes to finance the whole enchilada by providing better statistics and demographics to the advertisers and hence have better CPM’s and performanced based revenue models. This is supported by Staci Kramer reporting on PaidContent: “The daily will include audio and video, including pre-roll ads.” i.e. all web based technologioes for monetization will beused

SAM ZELL’S NEW THINKING [INNOVATIONS IN NEWSPAPERS]

A quote from Sam Zell via SAM ZELL’S NEW THINKING at WHAT’S NEXT: INNOVATIONS IN NEWSPAPERS:

“I don’t believe it’s fair to hold me to the sentence that I expressed six months ago.

I don’t know that anybody has a frame of reference on advertising revenue destruction that, in effect, is as bad as this, going all the way back to the Depression.

So I think the circumstances are dramatically worse than anyone could have possibly predicted.”

Will Apple finally ship my dream e-reading / netbook device?

For quite some time  i’ve argued that  the iPhone / iPod touch is right now my favourite e-reading device (see here, here and here) (Having extensively tested e-ink devices like the Iliad). Hence i drooled for a iTouch like with a  7-9″ display.

But Steve Jobs “seemingly” dissed any chance building such a device with his: “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.” remark (NYT).

Nevertheless i was still hopeful. Not because people still read a lot (the actually do but more and more on the internet), but because people  watch more video than ever,  not on the broadcast channels, but on internet devices. Netbooks like the Asus Eee PC are the device class “de jour”, with Asus building a whole device family ranging from the EeePC in multiple variants to the EeeBox and the EeeTV with the latter clearly aiming at the home entertainment market.

It is very unlikely that Apple will completely neglect the netbook market and let the AppleTV “hobby” die. IMHO, it is more likely that Apple will enter the netbook market with a typical apple twist by not doing another scaled down version of a notebook, but a device that is dedicated for optimal support of the typical tasks a netbook has to support in a home and car enviroment.: Surf and read on the web, watch video, control your home entertainment systems etc.  This device should be the best device for couch surfing as well as showing video to your kids (or let them play casual games) while being in the car.

Ever since the Newton, Apple had technology for this kind of devices and it is more or less a yearly rumour that the Newton 2.0 will finally ship. But this time i think the chances are better than ever.

Firstly because for the first time there might be a consumer oriented market that is big enough in order for Appe to be interested, and secondly because technologywise all the parts fall into their places.Intel is shipping it’s Atom processor (with a dual-core version coming in late september), multi-touch patents surface in the dozens, Apple talks about new product that can’t be matched by any other vendor in their earnings calls.

We’ll see. If not hopefully somebody uses Google’s android to build such a device. Or i have to wait for the OLPC Xoxo