Apple will certainly have millions of folks lining up in March to buy its new iPad ($499 to $829), despite the fact it’s already getting hammered in reviews. And while it’s flattering that Steve Jobs featured the NGS website in today’s iPad unveiling (above), the big question for the Society is: Will millions — or even thousands — of people pay for cheetah pictures on this device?
Our prediction: No. But that’s because we think our Society’s problems are rooted less in the medium and more in the (wrong) message.
Meanwhile, The New York Times plans to give paywalls another shot, even though Dollars for Content still looks like a losing strategy. Case in point: Newsday recently spent $4 million to redesign and relaunch its website, which three months ago was placed behind a paywall. Today, Newsday has 35 paying online subscribers. That’s right: only 35. Something to ponder as you gaze at the screenshot, above.
We still believe the real value of National Geographic rests with its members, four million strong. Catalyze our crowd, and enable us to do together what we could never do alone — and there’s hope. Put another way: Make it social, and make it a Society again, and the particulars of the platform cease to matter. And while we’re encouraged that Robert Michael Murray, our Society’s VP for Social Media, recently told us that NG’s new Django-based web site “will add more social and community to the platform over the coming weeks/months,” we’re still waiting to hear the details.
We’re also starting to worry about what he means by “social”:
≡ iPad image via Endgadget