A year and a half ago I wrote a piece entitled, “My Daily Media Consumption Habits” which looked at the way myself and others are shifting the way they consume media.

As many media industries, such as music and newspapers, were having difficulty making a go of their cash cow revenue streams, such as CD sales and classifieds, respectively, the press was spelling doom and gloom. For example, both the NY Times and the San Francisco Chronicle were hemorrhaging money.

And then all this media, that at one time cost a lot of money to consume, becomes free. So many articles started to tout, “People online won’t pay for content.”

For a period of time that did seem true. Yet today we appear to be consuming more media than we ever have. If that’s true, why can’t enough people make enough money selling media?

We’re going through a media industry correction

Like the public had to be trained as to what the cost of a print newspaper was, we’re going to have to be trained to understand what the new digital media costs. For example:

There are some clear cut answers to these issues, but only a few. Many others still need to be hashed out. Understandably, many in the media industry are frustrated. They’ve got bills to pay and they don’t have time to wait for this “correction” to work itself out.

Software can convert a device into a marketplace

I’ve become a huge fan of the iPad. It’s a perfect media consumption device for all kinds of media. Not just because of the device itself, but because of the marketplace for the media and how one can actually access and consume the media. That last part is the part for which all other media consumption devices have tried and failed.

The iPod succeeded, not just because it was a great device, but because it had iTunes. The competitors were all a distant second. I remember many years ago at CES when the first wave of portable video players were coming out, the selling points were always on the display size, resolution, and disk space or how many movies it could hold. When I asked the basic question, “How do I get movies onto the device?” I always received the answer of “We have software for that.” As if “software” was as universal and standardized as purchasing a nut for a screw. Any one will do.

I remember when I purchased my first iPod. All I did was connect it to my computer and it automatically found all my MP3 files (I had previously ripped my entire CD collection) which were then loaded onto my iPod. It truly was the best experience I ever had with the installation of an electronic device. I was all prepared to fight the troublesome nature that was so common with installation of devices. But this truly was phenomenal. I plugged it in, found my music, and I was done. That was it.

iTunes proved to us that “software” was integral to the sale of the hardware, for both short term and for building an ongoing marketplace. Not only was iTunes good software for initializing the iPod, it also enticed great content producers to produce for the platform and the device.

The iPad: Next great hope for all?

I believe the iPad, because of both the device and marketplace, has great hope again for the media industry. I’m not alone. According to a survey, AllThingsD reports that 63 percent of tablet users (predominantly iPad users) want more digital content to  read. Yet for some reason magazine publishers aren’t biting. I don’t know why. I also don’t know why many, like Wired, don’t allow me to end my print subscription and only get the digital version of the magazine on the iPad. I love reading Wired on the iPad. Since it’s begun coming in that format, I’ve stopped reading the print version. Yet I still pay my yearly subscription.

I do receive free magazines on my iPad such as AOL Editions and Flipboard, but those aren’t fully edit publications and to improve the quality of the publication I have to keep giving it information. I find that frustrating. I don’t want to work that hard to curate my own content. I’d like the publication to curate for me. I trust the editors.

I used to subscribe and pay for many magazines. But currently, the only one I have a paid subscription for is Wired. I’m sold on the new iPad reading experience. A call out to all magazine publishers for which I stopped my subscription. Create an iPad version that’s natural to use and I’ll happily renew my subscription.

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Creative Commons photo attribution to Sigalakos, gordonr, and Steve Rhodes.