Tablet Era Holds Hope for Publishers

Publishers can be forgiven for wanting a do-over when it comes to the Web. Prices quickly cratered and the market became a race to the bottom with teeth-whitening ads traded like porkbellies.

The tablet could be a saving grace. The Online Publishers Association, a group of top-name publishers, commissioned a study that found hope for their members. Consumers are far more willing to pay up when it comes to apps for tablets, they don’t seem to mind ads so much and they’re drawn to content.

It stands to reason the OPA would trumpet these findings, of course, since they happen to benefit their members. Still, the research does provide a view into the still-new world of tablets. According to the research, about 12 percent of users have tablets, a number that’s expected to rise to 23 percent by next year. Nearly all tablet users have downloaded apps, with 26 percent paying for them.

“That’s directionally telling us there are opportunities for publishers to package their content and find a variety of ways to make that a content available,” said Pam Horan, president of the Online Publishers Association.

What’s interesting is people prefer to consume many types of content on tablets versus the computer. This likely the newness of the device, but does buttress the notion that the iPad is more of a consumption device than a creation device. Another point in that favor: users are more likely to watch longer form content — 56 percent are watching long-form content.

And, it appears, consumers are OK with advertising — for now. About half of respondents say the advertising is relevant or useful. Those are pretty high numbers for advertising, but also not totally surprising for a new device.

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