Most newspapers in the country are having difficulty keeping circulation up in the face of free online and real time broadcast media. The same is true for magazines and other print media. It is circulation that drives advertising rates in these businesses with the purchase price of the media covering a reduced part of the overall costs over the years. As a result many of these organizations, hemorrhaging red ink, have merged, sold or just closed up shop. One small local newspaper, facing all these pressures came up with a unique concept that has not only kept them alive, but put them back into the black.
They recognized the unique value that made the core business work, “local information”. They leveraged all the resources they could muster to provide more “local information” in one place. Many organizations were providing this information online at no cost, but it was either not local enough (as with a national network or large city news media) or focused only on a limited set of activities. This new “local information” was placed on a web site with appropriate advertising, as one might expect. However, after a few months of testing this, they began a process of charging a subscription fee that was higher than they charged for the printed media. Up to this point in time, it was unheard of…all news, including local news was on line, free. Now a premium price was required to get the best local news in one place!
The result was a substantial increase in sales of the printed media. People that travelled or were away on vacation could keep in touch using the online site, for a fee. They proved that “local information” has value, and in the process turned the red ink to black. Other print media followed this example.
What can you learn from this?
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor
Visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net