March 24, 2016 Last Updated 8:33 am

Papers that don’t go all digital, nearly do in moves to cut costs

As The Independent in the UK nears producing its last print edition, other newspapers cutback on home delivery dates, hoping readers will read their content online or on mobile devices – but will they?

The last print edition of The Independent is scheduled to appear on newsstands on Saturday, its last Sunday edition already appearing on March 20. The move may have been a jolt to some of its loyal readers (57,930, Monday to Saturday; 97,218 Sunday), but it is a trend seen in many communities these days. Advance Publications has cut the home delivery of its newspapers such as The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, moves that almost encourages the breaking of the daily newspaper reading habit.

But the move to cut back on print or home delivery is certainly not limited to the big metro dailies.

KCC-frontYesterday, Shaw Media announced that its paper, the Kane County Chronicle, would revert to a weekly.

“Today, we are excited to announce an important milestone in our history,” J. Tom Shaw, vice president of Shaw Media, said in a letter to readers.

“Beginning on April 14, the print edition of the Kane County Chronicle will be delivered to you each Thursday via U.S. mail. Based on your address, you will receive one of the three local editions of the Chronicle (Batavia, Geneva or St. Charles).”

The company also announced that it had acquired Kaneland Publications, which include the Elburn Herald and the Sugar Grove Herald. As part of the move, the newspapers will be converted to tabloids, consistent with other Shaw Media newspapers.

Kane County is located west of Chicago, and it could be said that it is two counties away from the big metropolis – close enough that many readers would want to subscribe to the big city daily, but far enough away that they would still want local news from a local news source. But more and more, that source is moving online or to mobile devices.

Kane-County-Chronicle“These changes will allow us to focus even greater resources to providing you real-time news updates on your computer and mobile devices,” said Shaw. “Many of you have come to depend on for breaking local news. You will soon see improvements to the site, including more frequent updates and enhanced content.”

So the moves seem to make sense from both a cost savings perspective, as well as a marketing one. Cutting back on print and delivery saves costs, but the acquisition allows Shaw Media to have better market penetration of the county it serves, hopefully leading to added ad revenue. It likely also reflects that fact that for Kaneland Publications, it was becoming harder and harder to breakeven printing small, local newspapers.

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