Media owners hold the power to influence the speed of the transition from print to digital in the immediate future, but the transition is inevitable in the long run.
There are hundreds of millions of tablets due to be sold over the next two or three years and there will be a billion or more smartphones out there before too long, a large percentage of Americans will own an e-reader by the end of this year.
There is huge appetite from people to read on these devices, but one shouldn’t underestimate that while there is an audience and there are devices, it is also up for media owners to decide how much they encourage that migration. There are issues around privacy, channels, packaging, bundling and all sorts of things.
There are all sorts of ways in which one can incentivise or disincentivise the transition, which might not necessarily make a difference over a 5-10 year period but over a one year to 18 month period, the actions of media owners will have an impact on this speed. The market trends are all in favour of quite a fast transition but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a fast transition.