Groups from Zurich to Tokyo Evaluate News on Digital e-Readers

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By: E&P Staff

Ifra, the worldwide research and service organization for the news publishing industry, and four partnering newspaper publishers in the eNews programme on e-reading have carried out a global consumer test of the mobile e-reading concept.

Earlier this year, focus groups in Stockholm, Tokyo, Zurich and London were introduced to, and asked to comment on, digital e-readers — the first time the topic has been researched across geographic regions.

In the February-through-April test, readers of Stockholm’s Dagens Nyheter, Tokyo’s Yomiuri Shimbun, London’s Daily Telegraph and Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger used digital black-and-white e-readers loaded with specially designed versions of the newspapers. The focus group participants also were introduced to a prototype color e-paper, less than a millimeter thick.

Pointing to similarities in some responses across the regions, Finn Erling R?gen?s, global market research specialist at Synovate, the market-research arm of Aegis Group, and discussion moderator at the test locations, reported: “In most of the groups, there was an unprompted reaction to the e-readers as an environmentally friendly way to read the newspaper. Participants in all the locations were also particularly drawn to the color prototype, which in the future will be paper-thin and rolled up. They found it genuinely novel and interesting, and many saw it as a potential substitute for the paper product some time in the future.”

Ifra calls the results a benchmark for understanding consumer expectations in mobile e-reading, which until now has been researched only in local markets. The test enabled Ifra “to identify common drivers and barriers in consumer expectations across countries, as well as note regional differences,” Ifra Digital Research Director and eNews Executive Program leder Stig Nordqvist said in a statement announcing the results.

Ifra Executive Programs provide exclusive networking and learning opportunities on specific topics. Set up in 2005 in response to the emerging mobile e-reading market, eNews consists of two groups, eNews 2008 and eNews 2010, with a total of 41 member publishers and suppliers to the newspaper industry.

The 2008 group’s members are: Arena Interactive (Finland), Bonnier/Expressen (Sweden), De Telegraaf (The Netherlands), dpa (Germany), Edda Media (Norway), Edipresse Publications (Switzerland), Escenic (Norway), Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany), Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH & Co. (Germany), Mainichi Shimbun (Japan), New York Times Co. (United States), Nordjyske Medier (Denmark), Plastic Logic Limited (United Kingdom), PrisaCom/El Pa?s (Spain), Rheinisch-Bergische Druckerei- und Verlagsgesellschaft (Germany), Sanoma Corp. (Finland), Schibsted/Aftonbladet (Norway/Sweden), Stampen/G?teborgs-Posten (Sweden), Styria Medien (Austria), Tamedia AG (Switzerland), Telegraph Media Group (United Kingdom), Tribune Interactive (United States), Vorarlberger Zeitungsverlag und Druckerei (Austria), Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) and Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan).

The global consumer test was sponsored by Bridgestone, provider of the prototype color e-paper displays, and Sony, provider of a number of Sony Readers. The test also used Iliad e-readers from iRex Technologies.

For more information, see www.ifra.com/enews or contact Ifra Executive Programmes Communicator Cecilia Campbell at campbell@ifra.com or 44-15394-35012.

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