Newspaper consumers may have more choices of delivery platforms than ever before but those platforms come with a certain degree of complexity.
Those Brainerd Dispatch customers who may be slightly puzzled by elements of new technology or the Dispatch’s all-access membership plan that goes into effect Monday are invited to an Activation Open House during business hours from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Dispatch on Tuesday. At the open house Dispatch staff members will activate subscribers’ digital products memberships and register them for exclusive reader rewards programs that will provide discounts to offset the charges that will be charged starting Monday for online and mobile media access.
In addition, staff members will do their best to answer questions about the all-access membership programs. Coffee and cookies will be served.
Publisher Tim Bogenschutz said his employees will explain the all-access program, download apps on iPads and show how the newspaper’s e-edition may be secured for use on most android devices through the Dispatch website. The e-edition is an exact replica of the newspaper.
News stories in the Dispatch may now be read on smartphones, the iPad edition and the electronic edition of the paper available on the website.
Starting Monday online readers of the Dispatch will be allowed seven page views per month at no cost before they are asked to pay for the product. Readers will be able to see the home page, classifieds and advertising along with photo galleries at spotted.brainerddispatch.com at no charge.
Despite a tough economy and a challenging environment in particular for media companies, Bogenschutz said newspapers and their digital platforms still offer advertisers the best value as distributors of information. In order to maintain its staff of professional journalists it was necessary to charge online revenue readers for the product they have been using for free, just as other online services do.
“It’s time to start charging for content,” Bogenschutz said. “It’s just a fact of life. We have to do this”
Circulation Director John Gagliano said response to the announcement of the all-access membership plan has been mostly positive with many of them indicating they were not all that surprised at the development.
As evidence of a positive response, Gagliano said that in the first 36 hours after the announcement was made of a bargain being offered for subscription extensions more than 300 customers signed up for an additional year.
The Dispatch’s daily single copy rates will increase from 75 cents to $1 and from $1.50 to $2 for the weekend edition. The last time the Sunday single copy rate went up was in 1998 when gas was about $1 a gallon.
Through the all-access membership plan:
■ Print subscribers will have access to all the Dispatch digital products with their subscriptions. The monthly rates for the six-day newspaper and digital content or all-access membership is $16.67 a month. Readers have the option to choose the three-day package of Thursday, Friday and weekend edition for $12.31 per month or the weekend only edition for $8.97 per month.
■ Those who aren’t print subscribers have multiple options either by bundling digital products or just choosing one. The e-edition, one of the those options, is a searchable digital version and archive of the print paper online and a separate product from the iPad app.
■ All Dispatch digital products will be available for $14.95 per month. News consumers may also choose a la carte membership rates, paying $7.95 per month for the iPad app, or the e-edition online newspaper, or the website at www.brainerddispatch.com. A special offer gives consumers access to one digital platform — such as the iPad, or the website, or the e-edition — for 99 cents for the first 30 days.