The Fall Of The Paper Newspaper
The phone rang and the caller ID lit up with the name of a local newspaper. I thought it was the editor for the tech column and answered. Instead, it was the sales department.
She politely asked if I was interested in receiving the paper delivered to my doorstep. I was honestly able to reply that I get all my news online. I could almost hear her groan, but she asked if she could explain the benefits of at least subscribing to the Sunday edition. I said, ‘sure, go ahead’, she had pleasant voice and I like determined people.
She explained that with the Sunday edition I would receive the largest classifieds publication of the week, the TV schedule and of course, the weekly coupons. She also noted that by receiving the daily edition I could keep up on the local news. All good points I suppose and since she was pleasant, (read: had a really sexy voice) I asked if I could explain why none of those features appealed to me. To my surprise, she said yes.
So I told her that the paper was available online and the classifieds were searchable online should I need to know who is selling used tractors or 67 Mustang parts. I have satellite TV and the TV schedule is not only ever present, it’s also searchable by name, subject, even air times. Which left the coupons, which are also delivered free of charge every Tuesday and Wednesday for the stores I frequent in addition to the marketing flyers I receive from nearly every store I’ve ever bought anything from.
I also explained that I get my the majority of my news via a feed reader that can check for breaking news every 5 minutes should I choose to do so.
Then I asked her how the ad business was going. To my surprise she had an answer. She said,
“For the paper edition, it’s terrible, we’ve shifted our marketing efforts to reflect the changes, in fact, we expect to receive more than 80% of our revenue from online advertising within the next year. We’ve also explored discontinuing print editions altogether”.
Now, while this paper isn’t exactly the Chicago Tribune or the New York Times, it’s not a rural weekly, and it services areas like Nashville and Murfreesboro.