Gannett’s Detroit Free Press and Detroit News are apparently thinking of home delivering only on Thursday, Friday and Sundays – the three most lucrative days. On other days readers will be able to buy abbreviated single issues at news-stands, and will be directed to the online offerings. The idea is to get say 70% of the ad revenues with 40% of the costs.
I have to admit this makes sense. Newspapers create an enormous amount of paper waste for the household, and as a committed news junkie I really only enjoy reading the print versions on Saturdays and Sundays. Also, as people switch their media online they have less time for the daily newspaper, and so this gives the newspaper a chance to be there only when it is relevant. Clever.
It’s going to be interesting times for the printing presses though as that lost production is lost economies of scale. That means we may see massive printing consolidation if this becomes a trend.
This is really important as Gannett has been on the forefront of the online news world, and they own about 85 newspapers. If this works then expect the rest to roll over in time.
Gannett itself is losing 2000 (10%) jobs across their organisation, but smartly these are not expected to come from the newsroom. Beleagured Fairfax, APN and WAN will be watching closely. They could start by following the excellent Gannett Blog, here’s the post that seems to have scooped everyone.