The idea of newspapers (and others?) bundling subscriptions with a free portable device is gaining traction. Here’s Joe Zeff:
Love it or hate it, the iPad remains the publishing industry’s best chance at resurrection, but only if enough consumers buy in. The price tag is the biggest obstacle — $499 for an iPlane Jane model or $629 plus monthly service for 3G-powered Pad. But what if the publishing industry helped to defray that cost, bundling an iPad with a multiyear subscription to hundreds of newspapers and magazines? It’s a short-term investment that could pay off handsomely, and one of many options that should be considered in order to lure a new generation of readers to a new world of possibilities.
Stan Schroeder at Mashable.com noted that the iPad is all about what’s IN the iPad, not the device itself. “The iPad “shouldn’t be sold in Apple stores, it should be sold on newsstands (together with a 24-month subscription to some newspaper), in video clubs, in libraries.”
I honestly expected a lot of subsidized options for the device if you agree to buy some content with it, but Apple hasn’t really delivered that — yet. If I’m right, and if Apple starts doing that, most of iPad’s shortcomings won’t matter.
A few weeks ago, I made the same suggestion via Twitter.
The response to my tweet was mixed. Some thought it spot-on; others thought it was foolish for an industry already limping due to lack of funds. I think that’s an empty argument.
And, as Poynter’s Damon Kiesow notes, this isn’t really “new” thinking.
The New York Times and others have already started down this path, selling subsidized Kindles in return for annual subscription packages. The advantages of this model were proposed a year ago when the Silicon Valley Insider calculated it would be cheaper for the Times to buy its subscribers Kindles rather then print and deliver them each a daily paper.
I feel pretty strongly that this is going to happen, and as a Kindle owner, I would welcome it. The device is fabulous for the treadmill, the bathroom and other places where the size of the font makes multitasking much easier. I promise to keep it out of my car.