Star Tribune to deliver Sunday paper without all that pesky news

Like your Sunday newspaper but hate all those local and national news pages that slow your burrowing toward the ad sections? Well, the Star Tribune has a new edition just for you!

Beginning this Sunday, readers can get “StribExpress,” which contains all the Sunday ads plus six pages of “the best features content from the Star Tribune,” according to a media release.

News features? No, silly! “Content will be selected and edited by Star Tribune newsroom editors and will focus on lifestyle, home and garden, cooking and personal finance stories,” the release states.

To be clear: the Strib will still be putting out the regular Sunday paper. And the organization has had similar ad-heavy products to boost advertising reach in coveted areas. However, if the glorified ad circulars featured editorial content, it was often truly awful syndicated stuff. This is the first time the newsroom has been involved, says Strib vice president Ben Taylor.

In one sense, the new Sunday paper resembles Vita.mn, which also re-purposes newsroom content in a different ad package.

Like Vita.mn, StribExpress will be free, but unlike the entertainment weekly, the new Sunday paper will be delivered — to 20,000 readers in 32 zip codes. (It’s a motley list that includes northeast Minneapolis and Lake Nokomis, and zip codes in suburbs such as Columbia Heights, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Hopkins and Prior Lake. There doesn’t appear to be any east-metro action.)

Taylor acknowledges that the move is made in part because the Strib’s Sunday circulation has been dropping for years. Earlier this year, the paper created new Dakota and Washington county news sections to boost circulation there; StribExpress is a different animal, but aimed at the same revenue problem.

Because StribExpress readers have “opted in” via telephone or mail solicitations, the Star Tribune can count it as verified circulation under new Audit Bureau of Circulations rules, though it won’t be lumped in with the “main” Sunday paper.

While it’s hard to resist jokes about the Sunday paper becoming as soft as Charmin, it’s a good thing if advertisers still want to use a news organization to get their messages out. (After all, plenty of advertising alternatives have no news-gathering to subsidize.) Hopefully, this particular McPaper won’t prompt people to drop the real one.

Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Ryan Coleman on 09/07/2010 - 03:24 pm.

    Welcome to another reason I don’t actually subscribe to the paper. I never have, actually, but it has been almost a decade since I even had the New York Times delivered to me.

  2. Submitted by Andy Gifford on 09/07/2010 - 03:32 pm.

    So let me get this straight:

    The Star Tribune is opting for a “NY Times Magazine”-ish supplement why? Are they not going to get the same stories/information from their regular Sunday edition?

    Don’t get me wrong; it’s a gutsy, smart move on the part of the 425 Portland brain trust, but how is this going to benefit them? Are advertisers *cough*Target*cough* going to flock to reach people they are already reaching?

    Why not step out of the proverbial box and prove that this is something worth going out of the way for? Pushing more paper product probably won’t cut it right now.

  3. Submitted by dan buechler on 09/07/2010 - 03:41 pm.

    Hey it will create a few part time jobs. And people really really like their target ads. Take it from a former circulator.

  4. Submitted by Ed Kohler on 09/07/2010 - 03:49 pm.

    Lots of people buy the Sunday paper for the ads. This sounds like it has a shot of succeeding.

  5. Submitted by Roy Everson on 09/08/2010 - 01:51 am.

    It used to be known as a “shopper”. Probly still is. A mega-shopper, just what this world need.

  6. Submitted by Joey White on 09/08/2010 - 05:00 am.

    My wife only buys the Sunday paper for the ads. Neither of us read the actual news content. I get that online. This would definitely work for us.

  7. Submitted by dan buechler on 09/08/2010 - 10:44 am.

    They may be cutting their throats long term for some short term gain. Will be interesting to look back on in a few years. Will anybody overtake them online? Little money there tho.

  8. Submitted by Arnie Hillmann on 09/08/2010 - 11:37 am.

    Not long ago the Strib was one of the finest in the nation ranking just short of the Washington Post and Des Moines Register. Now it is becoming a replacement for Charmin.

  9. Submitted by Nancy Hokkanen on 09/08/2010 - 12:50 pm.

    We reluctantly stopped the Sunday Strib because we wearied of repeated phone calls from their annoying outsourced marketers pushing us to subscribe seven days a week.

  10. Submitted by James Blum on 09/08/2010 - 01:10 pm.

    Are they throwing in the towel on Sunday subscriptions? I confess that I’ve signed up for this (only because it is free for 26 weeks), but the Strib wasn’t ever going to get any subscription money from me, so if this helps them raise ad dollars, I guess it’s a win/win. I wonder, though, how many of those “I only subscribe to get the ads” folks will drop their subscriptions for this freebie. So, then, does the potential additional advertiser revenue more than offset the potential lost subscription dollars? This kind of feels like another spin in the death spiral …

  11. Submitted by dan buechler on 09/09/2010 - 10:34 am.

    I can’t think of one employee group this helps besides 24 managers. Please write on this new idea again.

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