Assuming all goes well in the Centennial State, Singleton's MediaNews Group will install another 300 printers in Southern California homes come August, allowing subscribers here to create i-editions of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Bill Mitchell at Poynter explains how the system works:
Consumers pay the printer's manufacturer a highly discounted price for the Internet-equipped device and they pay a modest subscription price to the local newspaper. The newspaper reimburses the consumer for ink and paper, and advertisers pay the newspaper to get their messages delivered to customers located nearby.With the discount, the $150 printers will cost subscribers about $50, Mitchell reports.
MediaNews appears to be pinning its hopes for I-News on a "hyper-local" advertising model. Coffee shops, grocers, liquor stores and the like will be able target ads and coupons to I-edition subscribers who live only blocks away. The ads will be a bargain for local shop owners, and yet the rates will be higher than for an online ad.
Althought it seems inevitable that the i-edition, if successful, will influence how MediaNews apportions its limited newsroom resources, the more immediate effect will be on daily circulation. As the Denver Post reported back in March:
One proposal, based on how well testing in Los Angeles goes, would be to print the newspaper only three days a week. That will already be the case with the two papers in Detroit, including MediaNews Group's Detroit News, starting March 31.
"Our greatest expense is printing and delivering a newspaper," [Mark Winkler, executive vice president of sales and marketing for MediaNews Group], said. "Eliminating it four days a week would be significant."