iPad-Only Magazines, Newspapers Debuting Soon

Coming soon to an iPad near you, special newspapers and magazines designed just for the tablet computer. David Carr, the media columnist for The New York Times, talks to Steve Inskeep about the new publications, and the business model behind them.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Today, the British entrepreneur Richard Branson is unveiling a new magazine. It's not an in-flight magazine for his airline, although people might very well be reading it on airplanes. Unlike most any other magazine, Branson's will only be available on the Apple iPad. And coming early next year, billionaire Rupert Murdoch plans to launch his own iPad-only daily newspaper.

We're going to talk about this with David Carr, a media columnist for The New York Times.

Welcome to the program.

Mr. DAVID CARR (Media Columnist, The New York Times): Nice to be with you, Steve.

INSKEEP: Okay, why would you do a publication just for the iPad?

Mr. CARR: Because I have gobs and gobs of money, and I'm trying to find a place to stuff it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: I don't mean you, literally. I mean, Richard Branson.

Mr. CARR: I'm kidding. We kid cause we love. Sir Richard Branson is a person who has a wingspan on all manner Of platforms and he makes phones, and he's sending people to outer space. So why wouldn't he want a nice little iPad magazine? From what I've been told, it's a monthly lifestyle magazine. The first cover, in keeping with the sort of digital environment, will be Jeff Bridges from "Tron."

INSKEEP: Okay. So the idea is really a magazine. It only comes out occasionally. But you would sit there and read it on your iPad, if you happen to own and iPad.

Mr. CARR: People would be surprised, the people who don't own iPads, how magazine like it is. So you literally do page through them horizontally. And yes, Mr. Branson's magazine will have a lot more rich media; meaning video and the ads will come alive. But in general, you're going to be sitting with it in your lap and turning pages, as we have for hundreds of years.

INSKEEP: And it's a little bit smaller than a page, an iPad screen. And when you flip it with your finger it actually looks like a page is flipping on there, pretty much.

Mr. CARR: I'm ashamed to admit how much delight that brings me - that page turning technology.

INSKEEP: So we've described Richard Branson's publication here. What is Rupert Murdoch's plan?

Mr. CARR: Roberta Murdoch is working here in Manhattan. He's assembled 100 people in kind of a skunk works to come up with a newspaper that has no trucks, no printing, but comes out on the iPad only.

The conception of the daily, as it is called, is mostly original content. But it doesn't have any inbound links from the Web, no outbound links, so it's not really part of what we think of as the news ecosystem.

INSKEEP: But I am still curious, because media companies have been trying desperately to make sure whatever content they have is available on any possible platform, because people have so many different kinds of phones, devices, tablets, computers.

Why would you do something that is specifically for one device that just, frankly, not everybody in America is going to have, as much publicity as it may get?

Mr. CARR: Well, a couple of things you have to keep in mind, Steve. One is there's - what - 10, 12 million iPads and iPad-like devices out there. A lot of people say that four years from now there'll be a hundred to 120 million of them. The other thing you have to think about is it's not just a unique visual environment, it's a unique business environment.

Out on the web, if you use the word subscriptions people flee in droves. They can't stand it.

INSKEEP: People expect it to be free, sure. Sure.

Mr. CARR: Right. But in and iPad environment, you expect to pay for the good stuff. And I do think that nomenclature is very important. When they get away from the word subscription and into the word application, well, that's a much sexier, much more friendly term.

INSKEEP: David Carr, media columnist for The New York Times, always a pleasure to speak with you.

Mr. CARR: A pleasure to speak with you, as well, Steve.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.