Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doing the Math on Detroit Free Press, News Big Gamble

Rick Edmonds writes:

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News will be offering fewer days of home delivery beginning in 2009; the math on discontinuing home delivered editions several days of the week is straightforward. It makes a dent on several elements of the high cost structure that newspapers have a hard time supporting anymore with diminished advertising revenue. Spending on paper, delivery and staffing the press room and newsroom all will come down. If those savings exceed the loss of advertising and circulation revenue, the move will be successful.

A couple of factors tilt the odds in favor of such success. All days of the week are not created equal in advertising revenue. A typical metro books as much as 50 percent of total ad revenue on Sundays and the majority of the rest on a day or two near the end of the week when readers plan recreational activities and shopping.

There is at least a chance that advertisers on the soft days of Monday and Tuesday will move to other days or to the newspaper's Web site, or in the Detroit plan, to condensed versions of print available on the off days.

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