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Digital replica — Frequently asked questions

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The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record will begin converting daily print subscribers to digital replica delivery everyday, and the print edition will also be delivered on Sundays. This means at some point, delivery of a physical newspaper will cease with the exception of the Sunday edition. Our digital replica edition is available through either a mobile app or a web browser. For subscribers who don't have a mobile device, the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record will provide an iPad so that they can continue reading the daily newspaper.

These are FAQs questions readers are asking about regarding the switch to the new digital replica/iPad program.

Q: Can I see the digital replica edition now?

A: Yes, all seven-day-a-week subscribers already have access to a digital replica via our application for Apple iPad and iPhones and for Android devices. You can also view on your laptop or desktop by clicking on the "Today's Paper" link on hotsr.com. It is somewhat different than on a tablet, which many subscribers prefer. To access the edition, you simply must establish an online account by creating a username and password. If you do not have a tablet of your own, we will provide an iPad with your subscription. You may call (501) 623-2510 to schedule an appointment or wait until you receive a letter from the publisher and a follow up phone call about the details of arranging pick up/delivery, setup and orientation.

Q: When can I get my iPad?

A: All subscribers will be offered one when we get to that geographic area or neighborhood. If you have your own tablet, we will work with you in person at one of our local conversion meetings or over the phone to download the app and explain how to use it.

Q: How many iPads per subscription?

A: One. Subscribers will receive one iPad per paid subscription. However, subscribers may also access the replica paper using their own tablet, smartphone or computer. Each subscriber can access the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record on five different devices per household (e.g., an iPad, a phone, a laptop, etc.)

Q: Can I still do the puzzles?

A: Yes. There are interactive versions of the puzzles on the replica, plus there are additional puzzles that are only available on the replica. You can also print the puzzles to a home printer.

Q: What if I already have an iPad?

A: Subscribers can download the replica app on most personal devices. However, we strongly encourage you to let us show you all the features. In other markets, we have learned that those without these personal instructions often do not know some of the more popular features.

Q: When will my daily print delivery end?

A: Monday, May 3, 2021. We will continue delivering a printed Sunday newspaper.

Q: What if I don't know how to work an iPad?

A: Specially trained representatives of the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record will meet one-on-one with subscribers. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will do this with social distancing, either at a community center or hotel if possible, and if not, by going door-to-door. While six feet apart, we can explain all the features with the iPad in the hands of each subscriber, and you can ask any questions of our representatives.

Q: What time is the online edition available?

A: Normally by 4 a.m.

Q: Can I have the print edition sent to me in the mail?

A: No.

Q: If I already have the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette app on my iPad, how can I get the Sentinel-Record app on the same iPad?

A: You will need to continue your subscription to the Sentinel-Record. We will send you the Sentinel-Record app by email and you can add it to your iPad and smart phone or we would be happy to install it for you. You will then have two apps, one for the Sentinel-Record and one for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Q: What if I have don't have internet access, or Wi-Fi?

A: You may contact an internet service provider to add Wi-Fi to your home or you may also set up Wi-Fi hotspot service in your home with a cellular provider. Resort Cable is currently offering a special offer for Sentinel-Record subscribers who do not have internet service. This offer includes broadband internet service, a daily digital replica of the Sentinel-Record, plus 24/7 access to hotsr.com, the Sentinel-Record mobile/tablet apps and the Sunday printed Sentinel-Record. An iPad is included with your subscription at no additional cost to use as long as the subscription remains active. The Resort Cable number is (800)-903-0508.

Q: What about damages to the iPad? Who should I contact? Will the device be replaced?

A: We will provide a protective case to help keep the equipment safe from physical damage. We cannot be responsible for physical damage sustained to the equipment. The iPad is all solid-state electronics so it is quite durable. Contact us at (501) 623-2510 for troubleshooting or for manufacturer's defects.

Q: My app icon on the desktop of my tablet/phone has a red circle with a check mark inside. What does that mean?

A: The circle with the check mark in the center indicates an edition of the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record has been downloaded to your app and is ready for you to read. Normally the paper has been downloaded before you awaken in the morning.

Q: Where can I find out more about the app?

A: Learn more about our new app and many of its new features at https://www.hotsr.com/tablethelp/. You can also view a video tutorial at https://hotsr.com/downloadapps.

Q: Why is the rate increasing if I'm not receiving a printed edition?

A: To ensure that we continue to produce a high-quality newspaper seven days a week, the subscription rate is necessary to sustain our newspaper and its future.

Q: Why are you switching to digital delivery, except for Sundays?

A: The decision to convert from print to a digital replica was necessary because of the declining economics of newspapers throughout America. In the past 15 years, newspaper ad revenues, their main source of revenues, are down 75%. During that time, over 2,100 newspapers have closed, including several in Arkansas. Many daily newspapers have become weeklies. This has required newspapers to primarily depend on subscription revenues to replace much of the lost ad revenues as well as significantly reduce their costs. Rather than reducing the number of pages of news, the days we publish, or the existing size of their news staff, The Sentinel-Record is choosing to reduce the print production and distribution costs instead.

We are convinced the only way for The Sentinel-Record to continue daily publication is with a digital replica edition delivered to tablets like iPads seven days a week, along with delivering the Sunday print edition. Given our subscriber base, we can only make this work economically at higher subscription rates. We believe we can be sustainable at a rate of $29.99 per subscriber per month, assuming we retain the vast majority of our subscribers.

Q:Will my rate go to $29.99 per month when I get my iPad?

A: No. The Sentinel-Record is willing to make the investment in Hot Springs to provide these iPads if subscribers will commit to a rate of $29.99 per month. Since this is higher than our existing rates, we will phase in this increase at a dollar a month until each subscriber gets to $29.99. This dollar a month increase was recently implemented for subscribers at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Texarkana Gazette, the El Dorado News-Times, and the Pine Bluff Commercial. Subscribers there, realizing the importance of having a daily newspaper, embraced this program.

Q:Will I have to pay extra to get an iPad with my subscription?

A: No. The iPad is included in the subscription price.

Q:Do I get a discount if I don't take the iPad?

A: No. The iPad and training are one-time, non-recurring expenses which will result in the Sentinel Record losing money the year they make the investment. But what we need is the annual recurring revenues to sustain the cost of reporters, photographers, editors, and other costs in order to be sustainable. To do that, we need $29.95 per month from subscribers whether or not we provide the iPads.

Q:What happens to the iPad if I discontinue my subscription?

A: You will need to return it to the newspaper in good condition so we can give it to another new subscriber.

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If you have any questions or need help, please contact us at (501) 623-7711 or you can email us at [email protected]