Marketing & Innovation

When will electronic newspapers be available?

We knew it had been in the works for a while but here we go now, the French economic daily Les Echos, an FT’s subsidiary since 1989, is launching its electronic newspapers today.

When will we get rid of these bulky broadsheets? Although this is a world premiere, I am not quite sure that this new attempt at reviving the defunct electronic newspapers initiative is extremely compelling.

Earlier versions of such contraptions had already been launched at the heart of the 2000 bubble and already, we could perceive that there was a glitch somewhere in this great marketing scheme:

  • For a start, specific devices were required, and they were costly. Once you had invested in such contraptions they could not be turned into anything else.
  • Secondly, the content was poor and rare.
  • Thirdly, these devices were ugly, bulky and heavy.
  • Fourthly, the targeted segment for such widgets is already fully equipped with PDAs, smartphones, lightweight laptops, Tablet PCs, and UMPCs. I remember a lady from the national institute for research and agronomics (INRA) showing me that device at the time and she spent all the time trying to tell me it was a great thing that one was able to read stuff on a screen (in fact, brightness and battery life was also an issue on those devices). Um! I showed her my PDA and she was gobsmacked and couldn’t even understand what it was.

Now I am under the impression that this attempt is another desperate kiss of life for the little desired bulky e-reader. The device is pricy (€600-€700+ depending on the model you chose), it’s huge and non-versatile and the yearly subscription for content seems quite overpriced (€365 ie €1 a day, ie no incentive to bypass the electronic newspapers version worth €1.20 which I buy from the kiosk every now and then).

I find it very disappointing, and expectations raised at 3GSM by Cellular readers and Telecom Italia are this time again falling flat. Will we ever get rid of all this waste of paper? Isn’t electronic newspapers more realistic for modern users?

Yann Gourvennec
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Yann Gourvennec

Yann Gourvennec created in 1996. He is a speaker and author of 6 books. In 2014 he went from intrapreneur to entrepreneur, when he created his digital marketing agency. ———————————————————— Yann Gourvennec a créé en 1996. Il est conférencier et auteur de 6 livres. En 2014, il est passé d'intrapreneur à entrepreneur en créant son agence de marketing numérique. More »
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