Montreal newspaper La Presse is upping the stakes in its $40-million La Presse+ iPad project. In order to ensure its free daily digital publication gets seen by as many people as possible, La Presse will be distributing free iPads to all 6.5 million adult Quebecers beginning in May.
“We’re putting every conceivable effort into this project,” publisher Guy Crevier said in a note to readers in this morning’s paper. “We want to make sure that the minor limitation of not having an iPad doesn’t prevent Quebecers from having access to this wonderful free product.”
Crevier wouldn’t say how much the iPad project would cost with this added expense. At about $500 per iPad, buying one each for 6.5 million Quebecers would cost $3.25 billion, but one would expect such a large purchase to get a volume discount of some sort.
“It’s a small price to pay for the kind of result we’ll get,” Crevier said, painting a picture of the city’s streets being filled with iPads bearing the La Presse logo.
Many details of the program are still to be worked out, but we know that the cutoff age will be 18 or 16, that people won’t be able to replace iPads that are lost or stolen, and that people will have to come to the La Presse office and register for their free iPad. The free iPads will also be equipped with special La Presse software and will have La Presse branding on them, coming in a free red La Presse-branded cover.
Details of the project and how to register will be available at lapresse.ca later today, Crevier said.
Soon-to-be-former Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau, whose company runs La Presse’s competitor the Journal de Montréal, couldn’t say anything intelligible when asked for comment. He appeared to be upset.