Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

Summary: The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, both published by Philadelphia Media Network, will sell Android tablets this year with subscriptions to both newspapers in digital form.

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Newspapers are scrambling for relevance in this digital age, and two Philly newspapers are making a bold move to enter it. The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, both published by owner Philadelphia Media Network, will sell Android tablets this year with subscriptions to both newspapers in digital form.

The program expects to sell the tablets with a heavy (up to 50 percent) discount, and the paper subscriptions will be heavily discounted too. The hope is to breach the print and digital worlds with the program. Network CEO and publisher Greg Osberg sums it up:

“No one in the U.S. has bundled the device with content,” Osberg said. “We want to gain significant market share in this area, and we want to learn about consumer behavior. Our goal is to be the most innovative media company in the United States.”

The papers aim to start small with a program of 2,000 tablets in August, ramping up later this year. There are no details on exact pricing nor tablet details, but it is expected a subsidy in the neighborhood of 50 percent will be offered. There will also be ads sold residing on the home screen of the tablets to further drive revenue for the program. The tablets will be tied to philly.com which is also owned by the network.

[via liliputing]

Topics: Android, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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14 comments
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  • RE: Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

    This could definitely back-fire if the home-screen ads are a significant portion of the predicted revenue stream. Too many people may see this as the ability to pick up a tablet and root it.

    Or they may pick a really cheep tablet and no one will be interested anyway.
    jglopic
  • RE: Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

    Cost is the least part of why I don't read the newspaper on a tablet or PC. I'm waiting for someone to develop a newspaper-like format that works on a small screen.

    It makes me crazy that someone drives his car to my house in the middle of the night, to throw a paper on my porch that will be read and recycled before I leave for work that morning. I would like nothing better than to have the newspaper download itself to my device of choice, ready to be read when I wake up. I like to browse the whole paper, reading every headline and the most interesting articles, but have yet to see a format that works for that as well as the printed paper. I will cheerfully pay the same price for a paperless newspaper that I pay today, if only they can figure out how to make the reading experience as enjoyable as print.
    1DaveN
    • interesting point. got any suggestions?

      @DaveN_MVP
      I've worked in the publishing world for more than two decades, during which time, circulation and revenues due to it and corresponding declines in ad sales have driven many publishers out of business.

      Personally, I've taken many runs at figuring out different ways to present info for consumption digitally -- originally on desktops and laptops, and more recently on smartphones and tablets.

      I'm curious what you would like in an interface? What would give you the sort of experience that you're after?

      Would it be as simple as one page per story (with associated but tastefully-presented ads -- since it does have to make money somehow) with next/previous links to the more stories? That would presumably provide a similar experience -- you could quickly skim through stories, just by clicking the next button, reading headlines and first sentences, maybe seeing a photo, and, of course, some ads, along the way?

      Or do you have something else in mind?

      Others? Do you have the same interests as DaveN_MVP?

      Thanks.
      jscott69
      • I've been working on the ideas to replace newspapers and magazines,

        and with a few other features that I have in mind, it could replace all media forms. <br><br>Right now, the format will work with the larger browser formats, but, it can be reformatted for the smaller screens found on tablets and smartphones. <br><br>I think I have the right formula for DaveN_MVP is looking for, and perhaps it's something that even you had in mind. <br><br>It's a web-based application, heavily dependent upon SQL and I believe it can be done for "free" access to consumers with content provided by authors/columnists/reporters/commentators, either independently or as a group, like under a publisher umbrella, Articles are searchable and presented on lists with some excerpted material within each item on the list, and with a click on any item on the list, the complete article is presented, either from the site's database or from the author's own website. There are many features to the system, including many different criteria for search, and links to sites for discussions. It would be far more robust than anything that I've seen on the web till now. <br><br>I could probably demo the system right now, but, it's not completely ready and it's not yet on the internet. I'm getting close though.
        adornoe
      • RE: Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

        @jscott69
        The more important problem as I see it is how to get the professional journalist's view of all the news that's important that a traditional newspaper offers and not just what I think that I WANT to read giving us a more rounded view of whats happening and have it presented in an interesting and compelling way.
        I read newspapers on my PC, Mac & color nook but mostly on paper because I haven't seen it yet
        jimhokom@...
      • RE: Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

        @jscott69

        Interesting question. With a normal-sized paper (my home town daily or NY Times other than Sunday), I usually just browse every page from front to back, reading the articles that interest me and usually skipping the classifieds. I agree with jimhokom that the journalists' view is important in the sense that placement matters - what's on page 1 versus page 12.

        I'm no designer and I'm not exactly sure what would work for me, other than to say I don't think I've seen it yet. Maybe something like the Ars Technica home page, with a wide column of headlines and a sentence or two describing the article, and a narrower column on the right for ads etc. I have not read Ars on a tablet, but on a 13-inch laptop it's easy to browse the content and still see the ads on the right. Then you'd click or touch an article that interested you, and after reading click Home, Back, or whatever to return to the headlines. (Ars is chronological, but they add articles all the time. I'm envisioning a newspaper as coming out once a day in a set format, as the print paper does).

        I find that in any kind of news reading I do - papers, web sites, RSS feeds, forums or newsgroups - I'm looking for a way to rapidly narrow down content to what most interests me. The view of a whole newspaper page lends itself to that in a way that a small screen never will, so any successful interface would have to facilitate browsing in the same way, without requiring a lot of navigation other than scrolling to see headlines. Clicking Next might work if the pages refreshed rapidly, but it risks missing important content or running out of steam before the end. I like the idea of scrolling through headlines accompanied by short descriptions, and maybe navigating to the next section, but for articles I'd envision going from the headline page to the article and back.

        I really hope someone finds a way to make this work, because I think it would benefit pretty much everyone. Lowering publishing costs would let the papers put money into journalism instead of printing and delivery, and we wouldn't be carrying a box of last week's papers to the curb.
        1DaveN
      • DaveN_MVP: Like I mentioned above, I already have all your concerns solved

        with my design. <br><br>The system already does everything you mentioned as desirable and it actually does a lot more. And, it would work as a center for news/information/opinion/commentary/discussions. It would be "searchable" by article title (various formats), categories, subjects/topics/issues, authors/columnists/reporters, article type (news, information, opinion, commentary), publishers, type of publishers (newspaper, magazines, TV, radio, blog, etc), date or date range, geographic location (location related to the content of article. The system would allow any combination of search criteria, including any and all of the aforementioned search capabilities.<br><br>I don't know of any system on the internet which is or would be as complete as what I am building.
        adornoe
      • RE: Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

        @jscott69

        One thing that pops into my mind is Google's Fast Flip, but applied to a magazine or newspaper page with links to take me to full screen on either articles or pictures. Put newspaper pages in a some sort of order (ie general news, business news, sports etc.) and magazines can also follow the layout of their printed counterparts. Throw it on the web and let us download it so the masses can try it out and provide feedback like software companies do with their programs.
        jcmolette@...
      • jcmolette: I've already designed a system that does what you want,

        although it's not implemented yet.

        Read my posts above for more info.
        adornoe
  • RE: Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

    I have been through 4 different tablets, have had an iPad for a month, netbooks - tried it all. I prefer my SONY eReader and Calibre (free) software for news. B&W eReaders rock in my book and provide the cleanest, daylight-readable, easy-on-the-eyes solution. The new Nook touch looks very interesting and has the newest generation of eInk display.
    newmanmd
  • Yes, I have suggestions...

    @jscott69, I have always thought that newspapers should be free, and supported by ad revenue. I believe that publishers think this way too, since they only charged a token amount for the physical paper, Well, there is no danger of recyclers stealing all your online content, so the paper should be free to maximize circulation. The lost revenue should be offset by increased ad revenue for the increased circulation. If giving away the paper does not increase circulation, then you have bigger problems than we can solve here. As far as format goes, hyperlinks and electronic enhancements should make the paper better than the physical item. Stories should link to other relevant content and illustrations should be presented in thumbnail form with a link to the larger pic. There are so many sources of news out there that you cannot expect consumers to pay a harsh premium for news stories. I just bristle every time I see the NYT and WSJ limit my access to their stories (and ads) because I refuse to pay for content I can get elsewhere for free.
    tradergeorge
  • RE: Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

    I pay $8 a month for sat & sun paper and I don't feel that is a nominal amount. The only reason I take the paper is for the store fliers and coupons I get all the news I want off the Internet and tv.
    suzannerae
  • RE: Two newspapers to sell Android tablets with digital subscriptions

    As one of the last remaining newspaper readers, I might be ready to use a tablet with the right news application. It should be able to learn my preferences over time and present the information I am interested in. (but make it easy to move outside of my normal interests) We need to have a working crossword, jumble, cryptoquip also!
    mistrgee
    • A news and information site should not be about puzzles or games,

      and it should be mostly about what you are interested in reading, along with additional information that can get your interest. <br><br>Games and puzzles can be found elsewhere, but, for what you're looking for, I've already designed that system. However, since I'm one that likes to respect people's privacy, on-line and elsewhere, I would opt to not "learn about your preferences"; "learning" would necessitate cookies and keeping records online about what your browsing or reading history has been. Google and Facebook are good at keeping records about what you like to read or talk about. What you read in a newspaper or magazine should be your business, and I would keep it that way in an on-line environment. However, with my system, there would be no need to "learn about your preferences" since the interface would make it very simple to get at the material you're interested in. <br><br>Hopefully, I'll be ready to release a beta service within the next few months.
      adornoe