I don’t usually get involved too much in the marketing side of the newspaper business – it’s been awhile since I was trying to add customers to my Pittsburgh Post-Gazette morning paper route.
But lately I’ve been asked by some Daily Sun readers why they should pay for digital access as part of their print subscription if they don’t want it.
My answer involves not so much marketing the paper as it does explaining the new realities of journalism. Much like a bundled cable TV package that includes channels you don’t watch, a newspaper has always come with features you don’t read. For every Dear Abby fan there are probably dozens more who prefer the Police Log – or the baseball box scores.
Lately, that kind of bundling of content has included bundled “platforms” – some readers get the news on their smartphone, office PC or iPad; others still prefer the front porch. The back-end system that organizes it, however, is now becoming seamless, making it impractical for newspaper companies to continue to offer unbundled services. The resources that went into today’s front-page story in print also helped to break that story online yesterday, or create a two-minute video or photo gallery. And advertisers are counting on multi-platform exposure, too.
So when a reader of the print edition asks why they need access to our website, I reply that it is not the newsprint or the digital platform they are buying but the journalism behind both. It is an interconnected world, and those of us in the newspaper business know that better than most.