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October 31, 2014

Newspaper Publishers: Within 5 Years, We'll Have the Youngest Fleet (of Tablets) in the Industry

If you’re an American Airlines customer, you got the e-mail this morning from the company:

Largest Aircraft Order In Aviation History
Dear Ken Doctor,

Today, we are delighted to announce extraordinary news that will greatly enhance your future in-flight experience on American Airlines. We have just finalized the largest aircraft order in aviation history.

Beginning in 2013, American will acquire 460 new fuel-efficient aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, replacing and transforming our narrowbody fleet. In about five years, American expects to have the youngest, most modern and fuel-efficient fleet among U.S. airline peers.

Ah, transformation. Lovely word.

American intends to go from one of the oldest (our backs testify) fleets in the industry to the newest. What else might this remind us of?

Who’s got the oldest platform in the news business? Think Johannes Gutenberg. Think 1450. Yes, the printing press.

So, now let’s imagine that news publishers actually seize the opportunity of the day, the gift from the digital gods (and Mr. Jobs): the tablet. Erica Ogg’s GigaOm piece reminds how hugely the iPad is driving Apple’s business, and the unprecedented adoption of the device, and offers this astounding number: 222 million, the number of iOS devices “floating around in people’s pockets.” I’ve written about how tablets are the link to a successful new business model for publishers (“The Newsonomics of the Tablet as Missing Link“), and that appears to more true everyday. It’s a replacement product for print, for readers and for advertisers — and for revenue. We see fits and starts at making that replacement real, mainly among a handful of smart, national-to-global media companies, but most others see the tablet as just another problem, one other device to purpose content to, rather than what it is: a gift.

So imagine that headline: “Within 5 Years, We’ll Have the Youngest Fleet (of Tablets) in the Industry”. Maybe, knock a couple of years off of it. How soon will we see that e-mail in our inboxes, our walls and our Twitter readers?

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