iPad to rescue media from penny-pinching Web surfers?


Chubb described the iPad as an addictive device, noting that the GQ app has had about 250,000 sessions, or the number of times someone ran the app on a device. About 60 percent of those sessions were on the iPad, and the remaining 40 percent were on iPhones. With the Vanity Fair app, released earlier this month, the company reports about 35,000 sessions, about 90 percent of which were from the iPad.

"What we are seeing is young guys who never bought GQ [buying] the iPad [app] and experiencing and enjoying it," she said.

Others point to a number of limitations to the app approach to selling digital magazines and newspapers, particularly the way it fragments the large audience that the Web brings together.

Avner Ronen, CEO of Internet television producer Boxee, pointed out that social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow users to post Web links that others can easily click on, but no such mechanism exists for sharing content in apps. "Even as you gain more control over the experience, you risk losing the most lucrative connection with the audience, with the social Web," he said.

This fractured audience will also prove to be a challenge for media company developers as well, given all the different platforms that will proliferate, especially when iPad hit the market.