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Google's chief economic theorist, Hal Varian, commented to journalism students at UC Berkeley this week that he doesn't feel the iPad will help to save old media such as traditional newspapers and magazines, according to the San Jose Business Journal. While the new device may help provide some assistance, Varian feels that only some significant evolution will help to save traditional newspaper and magazine publishers.
"We know there will be eventual competition from other devices, like the Kindle, and of course there's still the whole Web," Varian said reportedly. "I don't think the tablet should be viewed as the be-all and end-all of distribution." He said the problem is that more than likely the iPad will only be used during leisure hours, and not during working hours.
He also went on to claim that the iPad does nothing to alter the loss of traditionally large areas of advertising revenue for publishers, in categories such as travel, automotive and home and garden. He thinks readers are more likely to browse Web sites on those topics rather than go to a news site.
"The verticals that drive traffic are things like sports, weather and current news, but the money is in things like travel and shipping," he said reportedly. "Pure news is the unique product that newspapers provide, but it is very hard to monetize."
None the less, he still believes that traditional media needs to figure out how to make devices such as the iPad work for them. "The challenge is, how can we make newspaper reading a leisure-time activity again? We know reading the news is valuable to our customers, but they don't spend much time doing it," he said reportedly.
Image courtesy of Fortune