Here's some interesting news from Canada. French Canadian, Montreal based newspaper La Presse is offering a free iPad to subscribers of a three-year contract for the print and digital edition of their newspaper. It's part of a new three to five year business plan put forward by the president and publisher of the paper, Guy Crevier, as a way to lean into the ever growing popularity of digital media.
The plan also includes the recent hire of Sylvain Leduc last year as the executive vice president of digital business, who was put in charge of overseeing the Digital Edition of La Presse. The the vice president of marketing of the newspaper, Jean Durocher may be looking at The Daily as inspiration for a ditgitally based business model. However, the Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. funded iPad-only news source is currently free, and after March 21 will only cost $0.99 per week. Compare that to the subscription pricing La Presse, and factor in its much more limited readership, and the offer might not be as appealing as they hope.
When you break down the costs, it seems more like a discounted 3 year subscription with the purchase of an iPad. The subscription rates (as published on La Presse website) vary, but the most expensive option is the Monday-Saturday ($2.99/week) plus Sunday ($1.59/week) editions for $4.58/week (including taxes). Should the subscription prices not change, that would cost you about $714.50 over three years.
Assuming they're offering the lowest iPad model (16Gb Wifi-only), the pricing is currently $419.00, and even that has come down from the initial $549.00 launch price of the iPad. so, you're essentially paying for an iPad plus an extra $300 for the subscription. Who knows over the next two to three years what the pricing for the iPad might look like, increasing the pricing of the newspaper that you've already subscribed to.
While this may make for an interesting marketing proposal for the newspaper, and in the end a push for the business into the digital realm, I don't think that this makes much sense for consumers. In the end it seems more like a marketing gimmick than a business revitalization to me. However, in the end people hear 'Free iPad' and may jump all over the bandwagon.
*Prices are in Canadian Dollars.