Lovely day yesterday – much downfall of dihydrogen oxide droplets – with more of the same and decreased temperatures foretold by the weather beavers for today. Under these conditions it seems meet that some weighty topic needs be dealt with in a frivolous manner.
I noted [Link] this week a PEW poll on the so-called ‘tablet revolution’, a term that smacks of contemporary history denial and branding egoism. The tablet is not much more than a (small) step in the on-going electronics revolution that began with the development of quantum mechanics and was instantiated by Marconi. Of course this consideration quickly reduces modern bogs to somnolent boredom and they do not spend money when they are asleep, perhaps the only time they don’t unless they are unemployed and out looking for a donation. The shape of modern society is the pseudo-poor who have funds to survive but not to enjoy (?) the lifestyle they covet. Self-control and will power are as alien to modern bogs, and many geeks and nerds, as polio.
Thus, in a modern world where budgeting and investment are the slaves of "oooh! shiny!" losing the (admittedly brief and shallow) attention span of the Amerikan plebe is directly loss of revenue. And thus any attempt to communicate, however misguided and ill posed, must be titillating and inaccurate.
Departing that for the moment, I was taken by a statement in the PEW blurb,
"Eleven percent of adults now own a tablet computer. About half get news on it everyday, and three in ten spend more time consuming news than they did before. But contrary to what some in the news industry hoped, a majority say they are not willing to pay for news content on the devices, according to the most detailed study to date of tablet users and their news consumption habits."
What is gathering is not the 0.11 of the population who own a tablet, a statement mostly of the effectiveness of Apple’s mind subjugation with its overpriced but flashy/shiny toys, but the statement that a majority will not pay for news.
The ambiguity of the statement, indicative of either poor composition skills or the modern Barnumism, if not both, needs be dealt first. It is unclear whether the majority refers to the 0.11 who possess a tablet of the approximately 0.055 who obtains ‘news’ on it. As we have learned in freshman physics, those factors of two are pesky but sometimes critical. Especially, in that context, for gravity. 
Regardless, in terms of a comparison with the television advertising market, either figure is in the order-of-magnitude range, and the comparison would seem potentially apt given that the tablet is mostly used for entertainment rather than constructive work. Conspicuously, the majority of modern Amerikans pay for cable but unless they ante up for premium channels offering athletic violence or simulated gratuitous reproductive activity, that payment is not generally associated with any particular content. Hence, ‘news’ programming on television is not generally regarded as something one pays for. Certainly the majority, who have either grown up with cable, and whose absence is a large fraction of the constitution of pseudo-poverty, or actual broadcast television, consider both local and network news programs as quid pro quo freebies offering information in exchange for carry-over attention span for commercials.
The point is that while Amerikans may have been willing to perceive and pay for printed news, they are generally unwilling to pay for audio-visual news. And the fraction who are willing to pay for printed news is decreasing daily. Indeed, as commented previously, the means for newspapers to continue to survive is by offering news not provided by local and network news programming, notably local gossip and trivia. So the intriguing aspect of the PEW statement is the hint of amazement that humans will not spend money on news content but will spend it on games and other apps or services. But not for news – news on television is sans price, and apparently, also on the tablet.
 OK, it is Friday, and while that’s not a pun it is a groaner.