The Journal Register Company is like one of the those old movies where the train wreck in shown in slow motion. You know what is coming, but it is hard to turn away from the disaster occurring before your eyes.
The company, which is now under the PE firm umbrella known as Digital First Media, is the darling of the digital media crowd. It exemplifies everything that its proponents like in modern newspapering: it's solely focused on content, disdains advertising, has declared bankruptcy multiple times, and has celebrity consultants on board.
Once the company folds altogether, there is no doubt the executives and consultants will continue to be seen on the lecture circuit for years to come.
Today the company released six new iPad editions for its portfolio of daily newspapers, pretty much concluding its launch cycle.
The new apps are The Record for iPad, Daily Tribune for iPad, The Morning Sun for iPad, Oneida Dispatch for iPad, Middletown Press for iPad and the Register Citizen for iPad.
All of the apps are identical and were developed by Spreed. Each takes the content from the newspaper's website and reformats it into a tablet app. They, of course, make no business sense whatsoever, but when the whole idea behind a company is to pretend to be digitally savvy, well, it gets the job done.
The apps are free, the content is free, and in the apps I saw, were complete ad-less (though now that the ads have launched there is new real estate that can be sold.).
The only winner here is the developer who sold the apps, and if Spreed has a deal to sell some space, they have also been able to create an ad network (something other mobile developers have done, as well).