The explosive growth in screen usage (PCs, smartphones, and tablets) has led the newspaper industry to become a dying business. Who wants to get ink-stained hands reading news that starts on one page and concludes on another? Those newspapers that have survived did so by being able to bring their print subscribers over to their online editions. Those papers that didn’t adapt to the new realities ended up closing.
Newspaper to give away free iPads to get print subscribers to switch to the digital edition
The publisher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Walter E. Hussman Jr., says, “If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t be able to continue to publish the kind of paper we publish in Chattanooga. We wouldn’t be able to cover as many meetings. We wouldn’t be able to serve as the watchdog function we serve as a vital journalistic Fourth Estate institution.
Newspapers are not so great at handling breaking news. In the past, when newspapers were the most popular way for news to be disseminated, big-city papers would publish several editions a day with top stories updated. A major event, like the assassination of JFK, would call for special editions. But with websites and apps from major news outlets like CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, the AP, Reuters, and The New York Times, updates are passed along often in real-time.
The publisher says it was a choice between ending the print edition or laying off staff
The digital edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press will look like a replica of the print edition on the iPad screen but will offer additional features. When the publisher is done with this promotion, the Sunday edition will be the only printed version of the paper remaining. The publisher said that he had a choice between cutting the size of the news staff or cutting the cost of printing and distributing the paper by ending six days of publication.
It isn’t clear how long a person is locked into subscribing to the paper in order to receive the free iPad. It should be noted that a 12-month subscription to the paper is $408 if paid for monthly. The entry-level iPad starts at $329.