Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BPN 1048 Dutch hesitant on eReader

The Dutch are still taking a waiting attitude with regard to eReader, despite the advantage of digital paper. Recently the national quality paper NRC Handelsblad launched its daily ePaper on the iLiad and is now forwarding a daily feed to its 500+ subscribers through wifi. The launch of the daily newspaper created the occasion for the Dutch marketing magazine Adformatie to research the market for newspapers and magazines on digital paper. The bureau MSI-ACI held a survey and the main conclusion was that the majority of the 600 respondents (56 per cent) were hesitant and answered perhaps to the question whether they would shortly read a newspaper or a magazine on an eReader.

Roughly 36 per cent sees this never happen in their lifetime. In the age category of 18-24 the respondents, answering shortly or in a short time was higher than in the other categories, but not substantial. But the interest in an eReader is limited in this category.

Remarkable is the conclusion that with the launch of digital paper readers 81 per cent thinks that printed paper will never disappear. Only 19 per cent thinks that this will happen. The younger age group thinks along the same lines.

The high price for the eReader is a handicap for many people. NRC Handelsblad offers the iLiad with subscription for 699 euro and for subscribers to the printed paper the eReader for 499 euro; for those who have an iLiad the annual subscription is 189 euro, a reduction of almost 40 percent. Due to these prices 42 per cent will most likely not buy the eReader, while 45 per cent will definitely not do so.

Only 2 per cent will most likely buy the eReader; among the younger age category this is 4 per cent. If the Publisher bundles in the subscription to a newspaper or a magazine the 4 per cent will definitely buy the eReader and a subscription for two or three years; 16 per cent will likely do so. But a majority of 53 per cent will not or hardly buy it.

Of the 600 respondents 45 per cent has a subscription to the daily newspaper. In the lower age Group of 18-24 years that is 11 per cent, while in the Group of 55+ years it is 70 per cent. Of all respondents 41 per cent says that they daily read a paid newspaper; among the younger age Group this is zero, while among the seniors of 55+ years this is 68 per cent.

Is this survey relevant and does it reflect the mood of the Dutch people. I am not very convinced. A survey of 600 responedents in the Netherlands on such a techy subject is hardly representative. You need at least 1500 people for that. Yet the launch of the NRC Handelsblad in combination with the iLiad eReader has set off an awareness boost. In the first two weeks there were more than 500 subscribers to the ePaper. And on the site e-book readers a lively showing off (in Dutch) could be seen on the forum. Technology lurkers were now convinced by the A-brand of the newspaper and were surprised. Other techno freaks started to convert the feed for the Mobipocket format on Cybook. And on YouTube a first review was published, be it with Dutch comment.

On the other hand the results are not very promising. In fact they show that the marketing of this product existing of an eReader and a newspaper subscription needs a wider environment and that the offer needs inclusion of a range of books and blogs. Of course this requires a commitment of eReader manufacturers, publishers and system integrators.

BTW Electronic newspaper designers can now also study the design of NRC Handelsblad, by downloading the edition of March 6, 2008. AS far as I can see the design is smarter than the design of the newspaper De Tijd during its experiment in 2006 and also smarter than the vertical tickertape design of les Echos.

Blog Posting Number: 1048

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