Thursday, December 07, 2006

iLiad and the De Tijd eNewsPaper (2)

On November 24th, 2006 there was a seminar in Maastricht on “The Daily newspapers entering the network society”, organised by the European Journalism Centre (EJC). I was unable to attend, being abroad. But I was very anxious to hear what the report was on the experiment of the iLiad by the users of the Belgian financial daily De Tijd. So I started to surf and I found two reports, one in Dutch and one in English.

The English report is a summary by the chairman of the seminar, Mr Jan Bierhoff. It reads:
This summer, a fairly large field test has been conducted by the Belgian financial paper De Tijd, using the Iliad, an e-ink mounted reading pane produced by Philips subsidiary i-Rex. E-reader devices are mobile to start with (A5 folder size), have the look and feel of normal paper, don’t require a lot of energy and show superior reading quality in daylight conditions.
Nico Verplancke of IBBT summed up some final results delivered by the group of 200 test users. Feedback is positive, in general. Half of the group would consider buying a device provided the delivered content is sufficiently compelling. A strong recommendation was to speed up the refresh time and improve layout of content. Meanwhile, i-Rex has issued improved software with better performance characteristics.
Further development is required though, to promote the device from the present e-book to the aspired e-newspaper status.

To my surprise, I read also: De Tijd will not continue with the experiment, but five Dutch newspapers have meanwhile joined forces for a continued research effort, more focused on the creative part of the venture, the development of the right editorial formats. IBBT will join this consortium as well. I tried to find a reference to the five Dutch newspapers, but I will have to guess that it will be a consortium of De Telegraaf, PCM, Het Financieele Dagblad, Wegener and VBK/NDC.

From IBBT, the Belgian research institute, which accompanied the experiment, I received notes on various aspects of the study such as usability, distribution and the business model. I will come back on these notes in the coming days.

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