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Circulation study: Digital up, print down

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard Well-Known Member

    Well, FWIW, I just checked the Mon-Sun print subscription rate at the Journal Sentinel, and it's $669.84 a year, based on monthly installments of $55.82. So the $890 yearly rate the study quotes is pretty far off. An error in something that easy to check makes me wonder about the accuracy of the entire study.

    Not that that forgives the way Gannett is running the paper.
  2. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    At least if they're doing Gatehouse-style accounting tricks - A yearly subscription isn't for a year, because they have "premium" editions, like Black Friday, or when they throw in the "Home and Garden Spring Showcase" section you didn't ask for it. Sometimes those count as two issues, and your sub doesn't last as long. I can also imagine that there are fluctuations on the rate based on time of year or other offers. I'm not sure if that makes up for $220 or not. Could they have just taken the newsstand price for each time, and times it by 52?
  3. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the new world of on-line pricing. I read an earnings call transcript of the New York Times. The Times uses algorithms to set prices by customer. NYT management said they had identified certain customers who would probably pay a couple extra months a buck.

    I am lazy and don't want to enter a fake Wisconsin address but I wonder if you tried with a relatives address in another part of town either more or less affluent than your address you would get the same price. I did go to the website and I was offered a promotional price of #13 a month but I did not see what the permanent rate would be.
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
  4. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard Well-Known Member

    I suspect you're right about the variable pricing. My account page on the website quoted a price of $19/month for the Sunday edition and online access, but it turns out the paper is charging me $24/month. I'd feel cheated, but I know the circ/billing department has been screwed up for decades. Sheer ineptitude may be in play.
  5. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    One potential solution is to put out premium content and charge premium prices. Market to businesses the way that Bloomberg, Lexis, etc do. Cover the shit out of the legal industry and the local business scene. Part of the problem is newspapers' content infrastructures are still built on the old eighth-grade-reading-level world. People with eighth grade reading levels don't pay for digital subscriptions. There's no silver bullet, but the lack of inventiveness we've seen out of these dipshit management teams is as depressing as the numbers.
    maumann likes this.
  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Question for the board. I do use and ad blocker for web browsing, but have have a permanent pause on all my bookmarked sites. Yet, some of these sites still make me "reset" my ABP on every visit, even when it is clearly not "active" on that site. What gives? Are news sites using more restrictive hardware, or less savvy hardware that can't detect that the ad-blocker is paused?
  7. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Try updating your browser and/or ad blocker.
  8. studthug12

    studthug12 Active Member

    There is a massive problem with the thinking of some of these conglomerates like Gannett. They get rid of every ad person locally. Not going to work particularly in any of their smaller markets or more rural places. Then, they take the reporting and the paper shrinks and how the fuck are they supposed to charge premium pricing for that lol? Then there is zero patience...two months we haven't seen gains? Time to switch plans! People need to be impressed and know you cover local content, local sports, local government etc. It is ridiculous how bad management is.

    Print always was dying but they sped up the process and digital just isn't going to bring the revenue unless you are committed.....and Gannett at the heart of it are not committed to local content, their employees or their customers....they have just looked to eke out a profit when they could if the showed some commitment probably show better gains if they invested in the product and people at all. Sadly, they never did once the recession came...full panic mode and never got out of the death spiral or slowed it down, only sped it up.
    SFIND and matt_garth like this.
  9. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    There was an amazing special football section in the Raleigh News & Observer last weekend. I'm not criticizing the work behind it because there was a lot of good writing. But in a 24-page broadsheet section, ZERO ads were sold. The only ads were a full-page ad for a Roy Williams book that the newspaper is selling and a half-page house ad about its website.

    At most newspapers, this section never would have been produced if it wasn't sold. I guess it's good that it was published anyway. But it's troubling that the ad folks couldn't sell any ads. Are they just incompetent or is the ad market really that bad?
  10. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard Well-Known Member

    A nearby small daily with crashing circulation was bought up by Adams Publishing from the longtime family owner. I hear that they've really jacked up the display ad rates. Meanwhile, they've farmed out the obituaries to Legacy.com -- if there is a lucrative print ad that serves older newspaper readers, it's the obit.

    That kind of logic is hard to fathom.
  11. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    That's pretty sad. Not sure if it's because the ad staff of a corporately-owned paper couldn't be bothered to call the mom & pop stores who usually advertise in sports preview special sections, or that businesses realize even the grandparents of athletes, let alone the parents or the athletes, never look at a print edition.

    Either way, really sad.
  12. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    I think the ad market is that bad. I traveled a lot this summer after being a COVID captive or 14 months. I slept in 17 states. I tried to buy the local paper wherever I stayed. I saw ads for the following. There is someone selling hearing aids that advertises a lot in papers. There is another company that sells walk in bath tubs and also advertises in papers. Then there are obituaries, which papers sell. There would be legals (politicians do not want to stop buying legal ads because they want to receive the editorial endorsement of the paper). And that would be pretty much it.

    I was shocked by the drop in the number of circulars. A Sunday paper might have four or five. Even a couple years ago the retail chains and fast food joints would still have circulars.
    SFIND and I Should Coco like this.
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