Jun 11, 2009

The daily battle for Detroit

The decision to cut delivery of the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News to three days a week has opened the door to a new daily newspaper - the Detroit Daily Press.

The name itself is a finger in the eye of the former dailies, as Ken Doctor points out, but also a clever mashup that will give subscribers and advertisers a sense of establishment. But who wants a daily newspaper anymore?

Doctor answers:
Daily newspaper publishers have been making the point that the new economics of the news business simply won't pay for business (and staff and product) as usual. They are right, of course -- given their economics, but not necessarily the next guy's.

In making reductions, they've had to hit the panic button more often than the strategic switch, and that inevitably may have left them open to competitors of all kinds. They may not have protected their flanks well enough in cutting back. If the entrepreneurial pioneers turn into a parade, newspaper publishers will have a new headache: intensifying competition for the local ad dollar, and for readers' share of attention.

In Detroit, the exposed flank is home delivery. Publisher Dave Hunke may well have been right that the Detroit Newspaper Partnership was unsustainable in its traditional form, and that cutting whole days of home delivery made sense for Gannett and MediaNews. He exposed the flank though -- a big flank of maybe more than a 100,000 baby boomers and up (in age) who want the newspaper delivered to their home. They don't want an e-edition to be read on a computer, and they don't want to wait 'til they get trundled off to an old-age home (DNP has decided to keep up daily delivery to senior citizen facilities). They want a newspaper. Delivered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And they are right. And, why couldn't the brain surgeons at Medianews et al figure this one out. I hope the new voice on the street thrives, and, thrives at the expense of the current establishment.