Detroit Newspapers Might End Home Delivery for Most Days

Detroit’s auto industry isn’t the only one hurting.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the owners of the Detroit Free Press are set to announce on Tuesday a radical change in the newspaper’s business plan:

Detroit Media has not made a final decision, these people said. But the leading scenario set to be unveiled Tuesday calls for the Free Press, the 20th largest U.S. newspaper by weekday circulation, and the News to end home delivery on all but the most lucrative days — Thursday, Friday and Sunday. On the other days, the company would sell single copies of abbreviated print editions at newsstands and direct readers to the papers’ expanded digital editions.

The Free Press, owned by Gannett Co., and the News, owned by MediaNews Group, are operated by Detroit Media under a so-called joint operating agreement.

(Note: Gannett owns the Baxter Bulletin newspaper in north Arkansas and KTHV-TV, Channel 11, a Little Rock CBS affiliate. It also owned the Arkansas Gazette newspaper.)

Newspaper officials aren’t commenting on the word, only saying that they will announce more on Tuesday. Editor & Publisher and the Associated Press are reading the tea leaves:

There already are signs of change. Both newspapers have Web sites promoting Sunday and Thursday home delivery and online access on other days at a cost of $15 for three months.

Bassett said the promotion has been up for weeks. Asked if it’s the sole option for subscribers, he replied: “We will be announcing … a wide range of dynamic options. Those are still being finalized.”

E&P/AP goes on to note that, if this arrangement comes to be,  it would make the Detroit market the largest in the country to lose seven-day home delivery of its major newspaper.

And, you guessed, job cuts are expected to come with the announcement.

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One Response

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