Thursday, April 30, 2009

Publisher: News & Observer will focus on maintaining and building home delivery

Facing an 11% drop in daily print circulation in the past 6 months, News & Observer publisher Orage Quarles says the N&O will focus on maintaining and increasing home delivery sales.

[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.
The challenge: how do you increase home delivery without goofy gimmicks that demean the value of your paper?

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.


Anonymous said...

At his phase, it’s all so, so moot.

Since Linda Williams and company will never get to the, “Tell the truth, and be a newspaper promotional phase”, they are simply dead in the water.

Just keep on marking time while the last part of your hull breaches.

Anonymous said...

Bonus, promotion, gimmick? How the heck do these words belong in any real newspapers lexicon?

I thought it was about reporting the news fairly, and if done properly or even reasonably, you shouldn’t have to have gimmicks?

Anonymous said...

Ross Levinsohn: Hollywood, as you know it, is dead

Ross Levinsohn, former president of Fox Interactive Media and now partner at media venture firm Velocity Interactive, spoke to the execs at the OnHollywood conference to deliver a warning to the entertainment industry: "Take action now or be replaced."

The nut of his argument (and hardly news, to be fair) is that media consumption is changing dramatically. The old ways are dying: Newspapers are drying up. Magazine publishing is off. Music revenues are down. Even DVD sales are slowing. And the areas that are growing -- content downloading and subscriptons -- run at lower margins than the media they're replacing. So it's time for fundamental change.

The good news, he says, is that there are areas of growth: Google searching is up (56% year over year), video streams are up (45%) and new platforms like Twitter are way up (2565% yearly growth, he said). 75% of internet users watch online videos every month. 75% of the top iPhone apps are games. There is a robust new entertainment economy. It's just not the old entertainment economy.

Anonymous said...


Journalists Told to Quit Lying Or Face a Whipping

Journalists in the Swat region of Pakistan were ordered by the Taliban to quit lying or face sharia punishment.

Swat Taliban have announced that they will ‘reform’ the banking system and journalism in the areas they control, shifting the focus from barbers and CD shops, Dunya News reported.

Talking to the TV channel, Taliban spokesman Haji Muslim Khan said Taliban’s next target would be the banking system “where un-Islamic affairs are being carried out”.

He said the Taliban would penalise the media with the sharia punishment for telling lies. The Taliban would take action against the people “who are trying to conceal facts by publishing and broadcasting false reports”.

Anonymous said...

The N&O is not committed to increasing its home delivery and single copy circulation. If so, it would not be jacking up the price by 50% daily and 33% Sunday beginning a week from now (75 cents daily and $2 Sunday). This move is a revenue grap, considering they expect to lose 10% in circulation because of it.