Steve Outing: US papers should go free some days

Media critic Steve Outing suggest that US paid papers should concentrate on the advertising-heavy Thursday, Friday and Saturday editions, the other days, the paper should be free:

  • For the other days, publish a slim FREE edition and don’t deliver it to home subscribers. Forgo the rack and newsstand sales revenue in exchange for wider readership. Perhaps you can parlay that into a better advertising vehicle than if you tried to sell copies of a thinned-down paper that many people wouldn’t think is worth the price.
  • The slimmed-down off-day print editions would need to have a modest amount of killer content, so people will want to pick it up. (Comics? Most popular columnists?) Another possibility for these off-day, thin editions is to make each a niche publication, with mondo calls for readers to go online or use their phones for the news. Mostly, these smaller editions should be about steering people to online and mobile services by the papers. If you feel that you need to publish these print editions at all, then their principal purpose should be as a table of contents to the (dominant) digital services that offer the news those days.

Outing comments on the coming plans by the Detroit Free Press that will be published on Thursday.

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