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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Hindu's E-Paper: Better Late Than Never

The Hindu and it's sister publication Business Line are finally joining the e-paper family, which currently includes most of the Indian MSM. New Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle, Deccan Herald, Indian Express, Financial Express, Economic Times, Times of India, Dinamalar, Dinakaran and Tamizh Murasu already offer their content in the e-paper format.

Those who prefer to read their newspaper in the same format as the printed one would definitely take to the e-paper format. The slow navigation and the irksome free registration are the main factors which work against the acceptance of the e-paper. The press release says that there will be no access fee for the e-paper, atleast for the moment. So far, none of the Indian MSM have started charging users for reading the e-paper. Since most of the online news is available for free, I don't think any of the Indian media establishments can hope to make money through the e-paper. Indian magazines like India Today, Business Today, Vikatan and Thuglak charge users for accessing content online, but it is not clear whether they are really making sizeable money through this.

With The Hindu offering city specific e-papers, would we get to read supplements like Downtown, which are currently available only to the readers of the print edition? The Hindu should really think of integrating the interface and registration of the various e-papers offered by the various publications under The Hindu banner. Under the current structure, The Hindu and Business Line have separate registration / login screens. This creates some discomfort as the user would need to create multiple user accounts to access content from the different publications.


  • Kaps, I hope you get a chance to read this: A fundamental way newspaper sites need to change.

    By Anonymous antrix, at 2:53 PM  

  • Yeah but it doesn't open with Firefox. Why does something have to be lacking all the time?

    By Blogger Govar, at 3:38 PM  

  • thanks for the information

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:01 AM  

  • E-Paper is a good initiative. Still, "The Hindu" will continue to lose market share (slowly) to other newspapers . The paper is no longer the Monolith Mount Road Media Monster that it pretends to be.

    By Anonymous ramki830, at 6:14 PM  

  • @Antrix,
    I'll read that

    It works in firefox for me.

    The recent National Readership Survey says that The Hindu gained market shared :-)

    By Blogger Kaps, at 10:36 AM  

  • Its poor compared to what pressmart.net has on offer

    By Anonymous Raj, at 8:24 PM  

  • HT ePaper’s edge over competition (The Hindu as a recent case in point):

    I have been a regular reader of ‘The Hindu’ and the ‘Hindustan Times’ for the last ten years. With both their ePapers now live with their digital versions, I find major differences in their interface quality and features:

    Here is why my family & I think the Hindustan Times epaper scores over The Hindu epaper ePaper/digital paper/online paper.

    HT epaper: http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/

    Hindu epaper: http://epaper.thehindu.com

    1. A big visual difference is the look and feel. The HT has a state-of-art interface which is user-friendly and has a cutting-edge feel to the digital edition of the newspapers – digitized by pressmart as it is.
    2. Navigation across HT is phenomenal; it’s so simple and convenient. This makes reading experience so much easy.
    3. Real-time news gets displayed in a presentable format, which can be personalized according to one’s preference.
    4. In today’s world of the News coming to you, HT has an automated RSS feed generation of the print content and I also receive the mailer (Morning Dispatch) of Newspaper every morning the minute the newspaper goes Live. The best part is I get the MD even before I wake up – not that am lazy 
    5. Well here is another difference though not visual but equally important, HT’s news can be heard in audio format using text-to-speech technology.
    6. Then there is the option of interacting with HT News via Mobile.
    7. The fact that every news story can be blogged and also linked with social network sites (Del.icio.us), content rating service (Digg) is sure to increase its base and reach over the Web world.
    8. I believe Users any day would prefer HT’s archival technology and their solution providers XML/RSS based interface.
    9. By the way, I have also observed multimedia news clips and Ads which are interactive and this way one can contact the advertiser directly.
    10. Finally, it’s very easy to find the HT ePaper’s news on the web. It seems to be prioritized on Google, Yahoo & MSN.

    Other points:

    1) A separate specialized flash and XML based interface for eMagazine, eCatalogs and small-format publications.
    2) Automated generation of podcastable content from the print content
    3) Additional navigation options on right-mouse click menu giving instant access to navigation features
    4) Articles integrated with multimedia news clips.
    5) Ads integrated with multimedia and interactive ads.
    6) Search works on all types of news content, including articles, display ads, classifieds, tender notifications, pictures, etc., even from historic archives, unlike other offerings that work only on news stories. Search results are displayed seamlessly from current day’s ePaper and past archives.
    7) Picture and Ad Gallery displays slide shows of print pictures and ads. Pictures get picked up by image search engines giving additional inward traffic to the digital editions.
    8) Article text-view well formatted. Article text size can be increased or decreased to suit individual preferences.
    9) Detailed user-level personalization allows the users to select the pages that need to be displayed and change interface themes to suit individual tastes.

    The HT epaper has scored 9/10 and surely has an edge over The Hindu. Then there are lots of technology differences too one needs to look into before signing up – one of the biggest being the user experience, one is usually disappointed by the “404 page not found errors” on Hindu ePaper – that is being maintained by consistently.

    The Hindu needs to do something about its epaper features and technology soon - change its technology or its provider. The comparisons and making a choice between the ePapers is easy, even from me an ardent fan – my choice is clear and I shall continue and stay with HT ePaper.

    Anil Sekhar
    PS: The author has over 20 years of experience in writing books and articles.

    By Blogger Anil Shekhar, at 12:12 AM  

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