Amazon's Fire tablet will help boost media companies

— -- Jeff Bezos' unveiling of Amazon's new tablets has sparked a close examination of their impact on technology companies like Apple and Google.

But we can't overlook the boost these new gadgets will have on media companies — they stand to cash in on the new platform to read and watch everything from magazines to movies.

Just look at the price tags — Amazon's selling these tablets for such low prices because they plan to make up the difference by selling more content. Just like the Kindle created massive demand for eBooks, these affordable devices could change the way people buy and consume content.

Yes, the Kindle Fire will have a Netflix app, but it'll certainly be easier to find Amazon's movies and TV shows, which means people will be far more likely to hit "buy" through Amazon. Plus, consumers will like that they can move seamlessly between watching a video on their tablet and watching on their TV.

With these tablets Amazon's now a real player in the digital content distribution business.

They're sure to make its unlimited subscription streaming through Amazon Prime far more popular. More buyers — and competition — is unilaterally a good thing for media giants from Disney to Viacom. The media giants can breathe a sigh of relief since people have been trained to pay for content again. While all content feels like it should be free online, on tablets people have grown accustomed to paying for apps.

And on tablets, there's no easy piracy option.

Kindle's newly colorful tablets lend themselves nicely to glossy magazines, so publishers like Hearst, Time Inc. and Meredith will benefit. Conde Nast is so confident that consumers will be converted it's offering free subscriptions. Until now the iPad has been the only real player in the digital magazine business, and now publishers will reap the same margins as they get from iPad magazine sales, even as consumers pay much less for the device.

© 2011