Horrible Idea of the Day: US Newspapers Planning Own Tablet to Compete With iPad
The Tribune Company, who owns a number of newspapers like the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun
, is exploring the idea of producing a subsidized Android tablet, built by Samsung, to compete with Apple's iPad and other tablets.
Lately in the world of politics and business and life in general, a lot of important and powerful people have been making some amazingly stupid decisions. Newspaper execs may be taking the crown of "horrible last ditch effort to save a dying industry" with them this week.
It gets worse though. Tribune wants to offer the tablet for free or "at a highly subsized price." Subsidies work for companies that, you know, make money off their consumers subscriptions. Newspaper subscriptions aren't what they used to be, and I'd be impressed if they recouped the cost of such an investment before the user jumped ship to a better platform.
While this does make little to no sense for a company that has been staving off bankruptcy for the last half a decade, offering a free tablet with every subscription does seem like an easy way to increase readership. However, the Kindle version of the New York Times costs $20 a month which is $240 a year. At that price it'd take multiple years for a company to recoup the investment of subsidizing a $500 (minimum) device fully and begin making any money at all.
If they really were serious about trying to woo customers into subscribing to their newspapers, The Tribune Company would subsidize iPads for purchase. At least that way they know people will want the tablet they're offering.