There’s lots of talk about newspapers abandoning print for digital, but that just became a reality for a few thousand Pioneer Press subscribers.
Reports have come in that the PiPress cut Monday-Saturday delivery in places such as Rochester, Owatonna, Brainerd, Northfield and Albert Lea. PiPress circulation vice-president Andrew Mok says home delivery hasn’t been entirely eliminated in those places, but the most remote routes have been cut.
Still, that amounts to 1-2 percent of the PiPress’ 200,000-plus weekday base.
Subscribers were given a futuristic alterative: Sunday home delivery, plus the Monday-Saturday “e-edition” for the $1.70-a-week price of a Sunday-only subscription.
This may be all of our tomorrows: Prognosticators say daily papers will eventually become weekly Sunday “magazines,” while cost-cutting forces the other days virtual.
For now, though, the PiPress hasn’t trimmed any metro subscribers. That’s the audience its advertisers pay for; in an advertising depression, it makes less sense to subsidize the most expensive routes.
The PiPress isn’t alone; the Strib has dramatically cut back outstate delivery in recent years. But the move is especially fraught for the St. Paul paper, which has bragged lustily about maintaining circulation as the Strib’s numbers have fallen. To keep up appearances, they’ll have to hope Greater Minnesotans resist the free website and pony up for Sunday plus “e-days.”
I should note these bumpkins (I kid) still fare better than those of us in Minneapolis, where Sunday delivery remains unavailable.