At last week’s Big Money Untethered conference, a number of big name publishers and business leaders converged to discuss the fast changing world of digital media. Naturally, one of the hot button topics was the iPad and its influence on the publishing world, for better or worse. TechCrunch was lucky enough to get a few video interviews with some of the big name attendees, including Washington Post CEO Donald Graham, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, and Conde Nast Digital President Sarah Chubb.
Here are a few nuggets:
When asked about the iPad, Schiller was particularly enthusiastic and fully on board the Apple bandwagon.
It’s definitely a transformative device…[iPad] is the most distributed, well known tablet, there’s no question other manufacturers will come in with other variations of the tablet but the idea of this new form factor is a really exciting one.
And for us, the way that it’s transforming our business is we have created an application for the iPhone, excuse me for the iPad, there’s too many i’s out there! That is really designed specifically for the form factor of the tablet…and it is designed for the size and scale of the iPad…it’s been tremedously popular we’ve had over 350,000 downloads so far and there are only 2 million iPads in circulation. So what is that 1 in 6?
I would never bet against Apple.
Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy also had positive feedback for the iPad as an e-reader, noting that Apple’s tablet, which hasn’t even been out for 3 months yet, has already “transformed” the publishing industry on account of the fact that it enables publishers to combine text and video, which is a god-send for children’s books.
Jacob Weisberg of The Slate Group, however, wasn’t terribly confident about the iPad’s long term prospects:
The iPad is a great toy…Everybody wants one, but the question is, is everyone going to need one?…In the short to medium term, I think the iPad is going to be very dominant…but long term I’m not sure I would bet on it as the dominant device because I think Apple does have the tendency to make the same mistake again and again, which is that it likes closed systems