Philly papers start selling $99 Android tablets to subscribers

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The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com parent is selling 5,000 Arnova 10 G2 tablet computers for as little as $99 to readers who agree to buy two-year subscriptions to three apps developed for the Android tablet. (The tablet is $129 for one-year subscribers.) After a beta-test phase with the first 5,000 tablets, Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) hopes to launch the tablet more widely on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving. “Our goal is to be the most innovative company in the industry, and today’s announcement is a major step in that direction,” says PMN publisher Gregory Osberg. || Jeff Sonderman: Why subsidizing tablets for newspaper subscribers makes sense.

Press release

PHILADELPHIA MEDIA NETWORK AND ARNOVA OFFER DISCOUNTED ANDROID TABLET WITH BUNDLED DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS TO INQUIRER, DAILY NEWS

First newspaper publisher in U.S. to offer bundled tablet package

PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Media Network Inc. (PMN), owner and publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and philly.com, met the future today, becoming the first media company in America to offer deep discounts on a bundled package of digital newspaper subscriptions and a next-generation Android tablet.

The announcement headlined a new partnership between PMN and ARNOVA, which will manufacture 5,000 of the critically-acclaimed ARNOVA 10 G2 tablet that will include digital subscriptions or “apps” of The Philadelphia Inquirer and philly.com. The partnership is the first of its kind involving a major media company anywhere in the nation. Sale of the deeply-discounted packages officially begins tomorrow, September 13, 2011, when 5,000 of the bundled tablets become available on a first-come, first-served basis. The wireless tablet also comes pre-loaded with a wide-range of other apps and offers fast and convenient web surfing, emailing and a remarkable high-definition multimedia experience.

“This partnership recognizes that consumers are increasingly utilizing tablets and other highly portable devices for their news, sports, and entertainment needs,” said Gregory Osberg, PMN Publisher and CEO. “We intend to utilize a variety of platforms and methods to reach our customers, ranging from philly.com to traditional hard copy subscriptions, as well as our new digital subscriptions. Our goal is to be the most innovative company in the industry, and today’s announcement is a major step in that direction.”

“We are proud to partner with the Philadelphia Media Network on this opportunity to take media and the consumption of it to the next level,” said Henri Crohas, ARNOVA President. “This is a partnership that both brands can be proud of as we both continue to push the boundaries of technology with the goal of improving every day life.”

The tablet is available for as low as $99 with a deeply discounted two-year digital subscription to The Inquirer and Daily News for $9.99 a month or for $129 with a one-year subscription at $12.99 a month. The highly discounted digital subscriptions – made possible in part through sponsorships by Main Line Health, Comcast Corporation, and Wells Fargo — are the equivalent of consumers receiving a free tablet.

The critically-acclaimed ARNOVA 10 G2 is powered by a 1 GHz processor, features an ultra-responsive 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive multi-touch display, and utilizes Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The tablet also supports Flash, plays high-definition files up to 1080p, and with an integrated webcam supports video chat with friends and family.

Individuals who would like to take advantage of this limited launch can visit www.phillytablet.com or call toll-free at 1-800-688-2222. In addition, this week, the first floor lobby at PMN headquarters at 400 North Broad Street has been transformed into a tablet store for consumers who want to test the tablet before purchasing. Customer services representatives also will be on hand to provide tutorials and assistance to individuals who may not have experience with tablets. The tablet’s USB Host Connection feature allows users to connect a mouse, keyboard or external hard drive, by-passing the need to utilize a PC for many every-day functions.

The launch of the tablet coincides with the debut of a new Inquirer Android app, which is one of many apps pre-loaded on the tablet. Users can also access thousands of additional apps through the Amazon Appstore for Android, including e-books, entertainment, news, games and sports.

“Through this innovative project, Main Line Health is on the forefront of providing healthcare information and encouraging health literacy for an increasingly digital and mobile population,” said Sarah Peterson, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs, Main Line Health. “Through a variety of convenient ways, consumers can become more empowered in their own health choices to keep well ahead. We believe as people take more control of their health, we all can be part of the solution to reduce the cost of healthcare, or certainly control it. We want to be partners in that process.”

Philadelphia Media Network also partnered with TigerDirect to fulfill orders for the tablet and provide customer and technological support for customers. TigerDirect is one of the industry’s top computer and computer-product retailers and its web site has been ranked among the New York Times’ “Top 25 Online Retailers.”

“We are delighted to participate in the launch of a new era in news delivery. Our world class sourcing and logistics operations provide a solid platform to enable a seamless customer experience,” said Richard Leeds, Chairman and CEO of Systemax, Inc., the parent company of TigerDirect.

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  • Anonymous

    “Aiming to be the most innovative company” is a big part of the problem, and not just for newspapers. How about aiming to be successful, and relying on wisely chosen technologies and well-considered strategies to get there?

  • Anonymous

    “Aiming to be the most innovative company” is a big part of the problem, and not just for newspapers. How about aiming to be successful, and relying on wisely chosen technologies and well-considered strategies to get there?