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Montreal newspaper to go digital

by Staff Writers
Montreal (AFP) March 11, 2011
A major French-language Canadian daily aims to shed its print edition over the coming years in favor of a digital newspaper for the iPad and other tablets, a report said Friday.

Montreal's La Presse is planning to offer anyone who buys a three-year subscription a free iPad or other digital reader, said its competitor Le Devoir newspaper.

The broadsheet first launched in 1884 is expected to start reducing the number of copies it prints as early as 2013 to 75,000 from about 200,000, it said. And eventually it may stop printing entirely.

According to Le Devoir, La Presse has already invested more than seven million dollars in the plan, which would see it cut its costs in half by eliminating printing and distribution of the paper.

Caroline Jamet, vice-president of communications for La Presse, told AFP the newspaper is looking "to make the most of new digital platforms to distribute its content."

It has put together a dedicated team to oversee the development of an all-digital newspaper over several stages, she said. "But at the present time, we're not far enough advanced to say when the change will be completed."

La Presse's current multi-million dollar printing press contract ends in 2018, she noted.

News Corp.'s The Daily is set to become the first wholly digital newspaper for the iPad only after offering a free trial last month.

Also, more than 200,000 people have reportedly subscribed to the iPad version of the Wall Street Journal for $3.99 per week on Apple's online store.

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