An Apple iPad Newspaper Subscription Scheme Won't Matter if E-Newspapers Aren't Appealing

I have no idea if Apple is actually going to announce a newspaper subscription process as reported by the San Jose Mercury News.

Apple to announce subscription plan for newspapers

Nor do I have a particular bone to pick about the journalistic style of the scoop (see Columbia Journalism Review item below).

The Mercury News’s Thinly Sourced Apple Scooplet

I would, however, like to see today’s legacy dead-tree newspapers survive in the 21st century in some form. And, I’d especially like to see local newspapes find a survival mechanism. Some newspapers have created interesting and innovative websites. However, I suspect even the best and most popular of these websites do not generate a significant revenue stream for them. A number of newspapers are available via electronic subscriptions on Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader. I haven’t tried to read a newspaper on my Kindle 3. But, I suspect it is not an experience I would particularly enjoy. The iPad and tablets with color displays, in general, seem like the right platform for a new newspaper medium. But, how will newspapers convince readers to shift from mostly free websites to paid e-subscriptions for the same content. Newspapers who simply shut off or limit content on their free websites will probably see a quiet revolt in the form of people simply not reading their content. Newspapers will have to create a media mix behind their subscription wall that makes it worthwhile for readers to migrate away from the free web content. But, how, exactly can they do this? Magazines are still floundering around trying to find the right forumula for tablet based content. So, they can’t serve as a model.