Unique test of newspapers on e-readers sets global benchmark

IFRA and partnering publishers carry out pioneering global consumer focus group test on e-reading

Darmstadt, (PresseBox) - IFRA and four partnering newspaper publishers in the eNews programme on e-reading have carried out a groundbreaking global consumer test on the concept of mobile e-reading (www.ifra.com/enews). Earlier this year, focus groups in Stockholm, Tokyo, Zurich and London were introduced to, and asked to comment on, digital e-readers. This is the first time e-reading has been researched across geographic regions.

In the test, which took place in February, March and April, readers of Dagens Nyheter in Stockholm, Yomiuri Shimbun in Tokyo, the Daily Telegraph in London and Tages-Anzeiger in Zurich, got a chance to use digital black-and-white e-readers uploaded with specially designed versions of the respective newspapers. The focus group participants were also introduced to a prototype colour e-paper, less than a millimetre thick.

"It was interesting to note the similarities in some of the responses across the geographic regions," says Finn Erling Røgenæs, of global market research specialist Synovate, who acted as the discussion moderator at each of the test locations. "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 colour 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."

With the global focus group test, IFRA has set a benchmark for understanding consumer expectations in the mobile e-reading area, which so far has been researched only in isolated markets and contexts. Says IFRA Digital Research Director Dr. Stig Nordqvist, who also leads the eNews Executive Programme: "As the mobile e-reading market is quickly growing in reach, it is important for newspaper publishers to identify the opportunities it presents. By carrying out a global focus group test, we have been able to identify common drivers and barriers in consumer expectations across countries, as well as note regional differences. The test results are shared in the eNews group and put our members at an advantage going forward in the relatively uncharted market of mobile e-reading."

The eNews programme is one of IFRA's Executive Programmes, which provide exclusive networking and learning opportunities on specific topics. eNews was set up in 2005 as a response to the emerging mobile e-reading market, and now consists of two groups, eNews 2008 and eNews 2010, with a total of 41 member publishers and suppliers to the newspaper industry.

The global focus group test was carried out within the eNews 2008 group, and its 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 Company (USA), Nordjyske Medier (Denmark), Plastic Logic Limited (UK), PrisaCom/El País (Spain), Rheinisch-Bergische Druckerei- und Verlagsgesellschaft (Germany), Sanoma Corporation (Finland), Schibsted/Aftonbladet (Norway/Sweden), Stampen/Göteborgs-Posten (Sweden), Styria Medien (Austria), Tamedia AG (Switzerland), Telegraph Media Group (UK), Tribune Interactive (USA), Vorarlberger Zeitungsverlag und Druckerei (Austria), Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) and Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan).

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

For more information, see www.ifra.com/enews or contact Cecilia Campbell, IFRA Executive Programmes Communicator, at campbell@ifra.com or +44.15394.35012.

About Synovate
Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 5,700 staff in 121 cities across 57 countries. More information on Synovate can be found at www.synovate.com.

WAN-IFRA

IFRA (www.ifra.com) is the worldwide research and service organisation for the news publishing industry. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, it has acted since 1961 as the platform for decision-makers from the newspaper industry. IFRA offers its services primarily to its more than 3100 members in nearly 80 countries. A Board, comprising publishers as well as central, regional and specialised committees drawn from IFRA member companies, steers the work of the international newspaper community. IFRA's research work provides the basis for this and results in standardisation projects as well as international and regional exhibitions, conferences, workshops, study tours, training events, Newsplex consulting and international competitions. The IFRA Expo - "the annual event of the news publishing industry" - held at major European venues, is the world's most important trade exhibition for newspaper companies and their partners. IFRA Expo 2008 will be held from 27 to 30 October in Amsterdam under the motto "Get the Big Picture!" (www.ifraexpo.com). IFRA Magazine, the international magazine of newspaper business, strategy and technology, is published in several languages in both print and online versions (www.iframagazine.com). IFRA is also running IFRA Search, a vertical search engine for the news publishing industry (www.ifrasearch.com).

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