[Publisher Orage] Quarles attributed the drop to two things: less money being spent to market the paper and thus gain new readers and fewer promotions where the paper is given away.
The bonus or promotional papers count for the paper's circulation figures, he said, but do not contribute to the company's bottom line.
"We just can't afford to do that anymore," Quarles said.
Now the company is focused on maintaining and increasing home delivery sales, Quarles said.
Home delivery and "single copy" papers sold in stores and coin-operated machines make up 82 percent of the newspaper's daily circulation and 95 percent of the Sunday circulation, said Jim Puryear, The N&O's vice president for circulation.
Sales of those two categories declined much less than the overall figures -- 4.2 percent daily and 0.5 percent for Sunday during the same period, he said.
One of the worst promotions to gain new subscriptions was a recent gimmick by the Kansas City Star -- they nearly gave away the paper to new subscribers for 99 cents a week. (Way to establish the value of the product right up front, guys.) One unintended result -- the campaign managed to annoy existing subscribers who couldn't get the cheap rate. This guy was so mad he canceled.
Below is a photo (hat tip: Tony's Kansas City) of the ad that was mailed to prospects.
The Star's ineffective 99 cents a week promotion is probably not uncommon across the industry.
More thoughts on the N&O's plans at John in Carolina.