Hearst moves Seattle newspaper all-digital

Seattle P-I to lead Hearst's e-newspaper charge?
Seattle P-I to lead Hearst's e-newspaper charge?

Hearst Corporation announced today that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (P-I) will become the world's largest daily newspaper to shift to an entirely digital news product.

A decline in advertising revenues and readership forced the Corporation - which owns over 60 newspapers in the US and hundreds of magazines worldwide - to offer the 146-year old P-I for sale. When no buyer emerged, it decided to shift to an all-digital newsroom.

"Seattlepi.com isn't a newspaper online - it's an effort to craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information website at its core," said Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers.

First e-paper for Heart's e-reader?

Hearst has already announced its intentions to launch a large-formart wireless e-reader device, and the Seattle P-I would likely form a key part of its offering.

In an interview with Fortune magazine, Kenneth Bronfin, who leads Hearst's interactive media group, said, "I can't tell you the details of what we are doing, but I can say we are keenly interested in this, and expect these devices will be a big part of our future."

The Hearst reader will boast wireless downloads and probably have a much larger monochrome screen than Amazon's Kindle, giving room (crucially) for display advertising.

Hearst is also widely expected to make its e-reader available to other newspaper and magazine publishers, taking a cut of any revenues generated.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.