March 21, 2010
A tablet demo too far
I find this concept demo both beautiful & technically impressive:
I have a very hard time thinking, however, that this represents the future of magazine publishing–any more than that such rich short films would take over the magazine world via CD-ROMs.
Sure, hardware’s better and the delivery pipe is fatter, but the cost of producing something visually beautiful & creative remains (and will remain) much higher than shoving text into a template. When moving content online, publishers often trade dollars for pennies, and even high profile sites grind out content for a pittance (e.g. I’ve read that Gawker pays its writers $12 per post).
Then there’s the question of audience demand–especially in terms of increased willingness to pay. If people want this kind of richness, why isn’t it all over the Web right now? I worked on rich, interactive narratives on Urban Desires, a side venture at my old Web agency, more than 10 years ago. All that graphical cleverness came and went, replaced by simple content management systems that enable quick sharing of text & images.
Thinking that tablets will change everything makes me remember an article in The Onion’s Our Dumb Century, ostensibly written in the late 40′s. It breathlessly trumpeted how the new marvel of television would revolutionize society for the better (“Every man a professor!”)–not like that tawdry, shallow radio and those filthy newspapers and books. No, this time everything would be different… It was a great satire of dotcom hype in ’99 and remains a good corrective to tablet hype in ’10.
Believe me, I’m very excited about tablets (counting the days), and I think you’ll really dig how forthcoming Adobe tools will make it much easier (and thus more cost-effective, and thus more plausible) to add richness to content. I just think we’d do well to keep our expectations realistic.