De Tijd newspaper of Antwerp, Belgium, will soon become the world’s first newspaper to publish a digital version on ‘electronic paper’ which is automatically updated during the day.
From a report in Tech M&C:
[...] Instead of buying your daily paper, from April 2006, 200 subscribers will be able to start the day by connecting a portable electronic device supplied by De Tijd to the internet and start downloading their daily paper. Updates will be automatic during the day, if subscribers have access to wireless technology.
The electronic newspaper costs an astronomical 400 euros – but those who sign up for the experiment are not being charged. The assumption is, however, that costs will come down when the electronic daily goes into mass production.
‘If the testing period proves successful, we will draw up a business model based on the analysis,’ the project manager Peter Bruynseels told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Media experts at Belgian universities will then analyze readers’ evaluations.
The Belgian experiment reflects the newspaper’s fight for survival in a world of increasing competition, declining circulation and rising newsprint costs.
So the notion of reading your newspaper wholly on a screen is becoming closer to general reality. As someone who rarely reads hard copies and just about everything online, I think this is terrific!
Think of the advertising opportunities. And think of the interactivity opportunities – if you, the reader, can interact with the information you see in your reading device rather than just passively receive it, then this development becomes extremely interesting.
And that’s precisely what’s in store for De Tijd readers in this trial:
[...] Using a special marker, readers can write comments on articles and scribble their notes on the screen.
In addition, touching an interactive advertisement will direct the reader to the advertiser’s website.
De Tijd is also thinking about publishing advertisement corresponding to the time of the day, Bruynseels said. Coffee and cereals in the morning, beer and snacks in the evening.
Other tools include extra buttons for financial news which steer a reader to in-depth information on the latest stock exchange rates. The e-paper also memorizes readers’ criteria when searching for a job, an apartment or Mr/Ms Perfect.