The news waits for no one. But US newspapers might start asking readers to — at least for print copies.
Almost two weeks ago, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, which is owned by Advance Publications, announced that it would cut back its print schedule to just three days a week. Within hours, its sister publications The Birmingham News, The Press-Register of Mobile and The Huntsville Times followed suit. Four days later, Postmedia announced that three of its papers, The Calgary Herald, The Edmonton Journal and The Ottawa Citizen would all eliminate their Sunday editions.
Newspaper executives across the industry lament the loss of the daily print paper, but concede they might follow the same path.
By cutting back on print publishing, newspaper executives are betting they can wean loyal customers and advertisers from their daily print newspaper habit, while at the same time driving them to their own website. Some industry analysts warn that readers raised on a daily newspaper appearing at their door will lose a sense of loyalty if it arrives only a few days a week.
Executives argue that printing and delivering newspapers only on certain days will sharply cut costs while at least preserving some of the paper advertising, which remains far more lucrative than digital ads. Harold Vogel, a media analyst estimated that costs like ink, printing and delivery, make up at least 30% of total costs for the paper. “For the local papers, this is their best attempt at survival,” he said. “The fixed costs are high and they cannot make a real pay wall that a sufficient number of people will subscribe to cover the costs.” - NYT