De Tijd newspaper of Antwerp, Belgium, will soon become the world’s first newspaper to publish a digital version on ‘electronic paper’ which is automatically updated during the day.

From a report in Tech M&C:

[…] Instead of buying your daily paper, from April 2006, 200 subscribers will be able to start the day by connecting a portable electronic device supplied by De Tijd to the internet and start downloading their daily paper. Updates will be automatic during the day, if subscribers have access to wireless technology.

The electronic newspaper costs an astronomical 400 euros – but those who sign up for the experiment are not being charged. The assumption is, however, that costs will come down when the electronic daily goes into mass production.

‘If the testing period proves successful, we will draw up a business model based on the analysis,’ the project manager Peter Bruynseels told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Media experts at Belgian universities will then analyze readers’ evaluations.

The Belgian experiment reflects the newspaper’s fight for survival in a world of increasing competition, declining circulation and rising newsprint costs.

The article say that Dutch company iRex Technologies, a Philips spinoff, is building the portable reading device which uses display technology developed by E Ink Corporation, an MIT spinoff.