As a big fan of digital publishing I read my daily newspapers digitally (The NY Times and Wall Street Journal) – all except for the local newspaper (The Norwalk Hour), which along with a printed New York Times are delivered to my front door each day. I don’t read the printed NY Times during the week but I relish receiving the New York Times on the weekends when I am home. In fact many of the best sections of the Sunday New York Times are delivered to home subscribers – on Saturday.
My partner David likes to talk about media dwell time. How much time an individual spends with any particular media should be considered when crafting marketing messaging. When it comes to the Saturday and Sunday printed New York Times my personal dwell time is probably more than four hours. I fully realize that in many ways this defines me as an ‘older’ if not ‘old’ person. 1010
Printed newspapers are dying and there’s not much argument on that fact. The reasons (outdated information, outdated model of production and delivery), are well documented and I, like many people, have adapted to digital publishing and I do feel I read my digital newspapers for as long as I did the printed version. This does not mean it’s the same experience, but if the point is to consume what I feel is interesting and worthwhile information, then digital newspapers do a good job and are improving.
Recently I’ve found myself spending more time reading through articles delivered to me (with my own preferences included) via the Flipboard app. Articles from all over the United States as well as the world in general are fed to me in a daily ‘newspaper’ which is essentially a curation of choices made for me based upon my behaviors and preferences. If I like a particular publication I can of course subscribe. It’s an interesting and evolving delivery vehicle and I like it a great deal.
So then, the reported closing of the printed and inserted USA Weekend Magazine should not have come as any surprise. It did not offer much of value aside from obscure stories on celebrities, birthdays of noted personalities, an attempted heartwarming story on some aspect of Americana and a bunch of full-page ads for foods I rarely eat.
Every Saturday the square color newspaper insert into my local newspaper was stacked with other inserts such as coupons and perhaps an old-fashioned free-standing insert. The odd thing is – I read it. Every week. Maybe somehow I knew its days were numbered. Alan Mutter – founder of Fast Company magazine and who writes an interesting blog – Reflections of a Newsosaur, wrote that with the closing of USA Weekend (once limited to the weekend edition of USA Today but then distributed in local newspapers around the country, only Parade magazine is left in the Sunday Newspaper insert business.
I’ve said for a long time that ultimately printed newspapers will be reduced to being one of the three national dailies – The NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and that’s about it. Weekly local newspapers will soldier on for a while longer but it’s hard for me to see many left five years from now.
For those people that want that old-fashioned printed newspaper experience (because it IS old-fashioned), I believe there will be an opportunity to enjoy that experience – at a substantial premium. The audience will be smaller – perhaps one-tenth the size of today, and it will pay through the nose for it. $20 for one issue of the Sunday New York Times? $30? There will be people that will gladly pay for what will be a nostalgic experience.
And I will be one of them. How about you?