Saving Print

There are at least 25 ways to improve your print product

Here are two of them


When publishers lift their heads up from their tablets and smartphone screens, they should realize that there’s not just life left in the print newspaper business model—there are opportunities to optimize print, thereby optimizing revenue.

The Inlander over the next few issues will be showcasing these ways by publishing a series of suggestions taken from “25 More Ways to Improve Your Print Products in 2017.” We may even from time to time slip in some tips that came from “25 More Ways to Improve Your Print Products in 2016.”

Both white papers were created by the SLP Print Solutions Team of Southern Lithoplate Inc., Creative Circle Media Solutions, Presteligence and MW Stange LLC.

This issue’s installment touches on TV books, and e-editions.
You can download the books from Creative Circle’s website.

Rethink your TV book and grids

Are TV listings a waste of space?

Americans watch more TV than any other nationality.

The average American adult spends less than 10 minutes a day reading a newspaper but more than 30 hours a week watching TV. A TV is on each day for an average of 7 hours and 40 minutes in the average home.

Consider this: 98% of American households have at least one TV, and 41% have three or more.

American children spend 900 hours per year in school, and watch TV an average of 1,023 hours per year.

The average American watches 17 days of TV commercials a year — that’s about 20,000 commercials.

Older people, those who also read more newspapers, watch more TV than any other age group. Americans over 65 watch an average of 48 hours per week.

The average American will spend 15 years of their life watching TV. That’s 141 hours per month, or 1,692 hours per year.

More people in your community spend more time watching TV than doing everything else you cover combined.

Still think TV coverage is a waste of newsprint?

The trick to TV coverage success is not doing what newspapers used to do. The world has changed.

How to score a TV win

The typical American household now gets 180 channels but routinely watches only about 16. Our own national research on TV coverage showed that as soon as they get digital cable and all those channels, people stop using TV grids because the online cable guides are much better at alerting them to “What’s on tonight?” So we have to get out of that mindset. The big problem viewers have with 500 digital channels isn’t “what’s on” — it’s “what’s good.” The cable guides don’t help solve that problem.

And that’s where newspapers come in.

Instead of a giant grid with no detail, newspapers should print only the core channels that most people watch — the networks and a handful of basic cable channels. (A lot of cable channels in your daily or weekly grid don’t even get 1 million viewers nationally, so the number of people watching any of them locally is tiny.)

Now give readers lots of detail on those 10 to 16 channels so the grid has real meaning.

Then take all the space you freed up from cutting the grid down and tell me what’s on tonight that’s worth watching. That is the kind of job we can do better than the online cable guide.

And after paying my $150 cable bill and buying my $2,500 flat screen TV plus my Apple TV device, surround-sound speakers and more, paying the newspaper $1 to know what’s on tonight that’s GOOD is a worthwhile investment.

— Creative Circle Media Solutions

Leverage e-editions for print ads

Better-than-ever e-editions

E-editions, or Digital Replica Editions, are a version of the completed print newspaper digitized for review on the web. They can take several forms, from the very simple PDF up to a sophisticated product with navigation, search, optional views, embedded links and videos, and expanded stories and features.

The explosion of smartphones and tablets, along with the digital subscriptions bundled with print, have stimulated steady growth of e-edition audience. In fact, the tablet screen is a very convenient way to read the newspaper page. Newspapers that have reduced print distribution on selected days have seen a rapid rise in e-edition viewing.

HTML 5 and other device-agnostic processes continue to improve the experience by enabling the same view of the e-edition regardless of device used to view, along with the ability to imbed links, videos, elements, and digital ad calls. A newspaper viewed this way can easily use the standard design that many readers like, enhanced with links and videos. Photos can become videos, looking like the newspapers from the wizard world of the movies. Olive Software is an industry leader in the space. There is a wide open future for ad options in this area.

ROP — In all cases the ROP ad content that is printed with the newspaper will ride along and be visible on the screen in a smaller size. Here is an opportunity to improve the results performance for that ROP ad, by either:
• Avoiding small type in the print ad, in anticipation of the digital view, and including the web address in the ad; or
• Replacing the ad for the digital view with a version that includes embedded links. If HTML 5 enabled, the ad can be replaced with an ad call for a served and tracked web version.

Additional ad pages — An additional ad page can be inserted wherever desired, including between sections, or opposite a section front cover. Those ads should be designed for the small screen and include an embedded link. The ads should also be placed with multiple-day frequency to give the advertiser good exposure, as e-edition readers vary greatly from day to day depending on daily schedule, news and weather.

Inserts — Ad inserts that run with the full-run printed newspaper should also get the benefit of the e-edition. They can be inserted in the same position daily within the newspaper or at the end of the news pages. They should be called out in the navigation or contents description, and also promoted within the newspaper as being with the e-edition for those readers who like to go back to yesterday’s paper to check the ad insert.

Readers expect that they can get to those inserts with the e-edition, and they are often disappointed. Inserts should also “ride along” for multiple days, in the best case mirroring the effective dates of the sale prices advertised.

Pricing — A conceptual pricing model is to use the monthly average unique visitors/ users to determine a CPM approximation, similar to or the same as that used for printed inserts. Use that pricing as one charge for the full week of sales effective dates and insertions. Another model is to determine a low flat rate per page for “sponsorship” appearance within the e-edition. This approach is often useful for smaller or irregular e-edition audience numbers.

— MW Stange LLC