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Print-to-digital for some Pioneer Press subscribers

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.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by William Souder on 01/15/2009 - 10:24 am.

    Let me see if I have this straight: The Pioneer Press, which is available online for free seven days a week, proposes to sell a printed version of the Sunday paper to outstaters and include with it online access for the other six days. Or, to put it another way, Sunday PP readers are being invited to pay for the privelage of receiving advertising.

    Interesting business model.

  2. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 01/16/2009 - 09:26 am.

    We’ve reached the point where it’s critical that the federal government move forward quickly to get broadband to ALL Americans. Printed publications are about to start vanishing at an alarming rate, and solutions like this one won’t do much for people with dial up accounts (at least not now that both TC dailies use bandwidth intensive ads on their sites).

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