The president of European free newspaper giant Metro International predicts that, within five years, the cost of tablet computers will be so low that publishers will hand them out to readers free of charge.
Per Mikael Jensen told the News World Summit in Paris that he believed basic tablets could eventually be produced for about $1 and used to push out news – not providing full internet access but a locked-down experience. He said:
If I was able to push information to a very low-cost tablet – and hand out a tablet to my readers, that may be an opportunity. I do believe that within five years we will see the cost come down and you can hand out tablets for free.
Jensen also said he believed that paywalls were only suitable for about one per cent of media outlets – possibly five per cent at a push. “The rest of us will have to find other revenue models than paywalls,” he said.
He predicted that online advertising costs would continue to tumble and head towards zero.
It is now cheaper for big brands to advertise than it was 20 years ago and I’m afraid to say that journey will continue. It’s basic capitalism. You have endless amounts of supply and more or less the same demand.