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Star Tribune plans to dump USA Weekend, pick up Parade

File this under "froth" (a lot of that in the last 24 hours), but the Star Tribune plans to switch from USA Today's "Weekend" magazine to the venerable "Parade" in Sunday newspapers beginning Sept. 20. The deal would also end distribution of USA Today's mid-week inserts.

The final decision is up to Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain, who must approve the Strib's request to break its USA Today contract. The Strib wants to end the deal Monday, Sept. 14, and Gannett (which publishes the USA mags), has until Aug. 28 to object.

As with its various leases, labor deals and vendor contracts, the Strib argues it needs to renege to keep the operation viable:

Although the Debtors derive revenue from the distribution of the USA Weekend magazine and the Mid-week Magazines, the Debtors have determined that they can obtain significantly greater revenue by switching to an alternate provider of a weekend magazine that, in their business and editorial judgment, is a superior product  that would better serve the needs of the Star Tribune readership.

To that end, the Debtors have entered into an agreement (the “PARADE Agreement”) with the publishers of the Sunday newspaper magazine PARADE (“PARADE”), subject to the rejection of the USA Weekend Agreement, to begin distributing PARADE. 

I honestly can't remember the last time I opened the celebrity-heavy product, but it's one of those things that helps sell Sunday papers (or subsidizes them). So on some small level — though probably less than TV Week — this stuff matters, business-wise.

I have no clue if Parade is a better product, but perhaps fans will speak up in the comments.

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Comments (4)

Parade is included with the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Is there any kind of geographical protection for distribution? In other words, could Parade also be included with the Minneapolis paper?

They are the same. Who cares?

I honestly was not aware either of these two products still existed. Wow.

I just love the page 2 letters section in each of these rags -- you know, the one where some so-called expert answers "questions" submitted by "readers" who just happen to want to know about an actor or actress who coincidentally has a big film release coming up that week. I think you should co-opt that feature for MinnPost, David. It might look something like this:

"Dear David -- I'm a huge fan of former Packers quarterback Brett Favre. What does he have going on these days? Is he working on any new projects? -- J. Doe, Anywheresville, MN"

"Dear J. Doe -- Favre has just signed a contract to be the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, and his new travel guide, 'Hattiesburg on $12 a Day,' with a forward by John Grisham, will be released by Penguin Publishing in time for the holiday shopping season. Thanks for writing! -- DB"

Whaddaya think? Smells like instant page views to me.