Extra! The Newspaper Is Cutting Prices Like It’s Going Out of Style

(And it is…the newspaper, that is, not the price cuts).

Here’s the mailer that showed up in my mailbox a few weeks ago:

Front

  • Inside

  • Back

    The Theme

    The theme is very consistent and colorful. It’s eye-catching. It begs a second look among the dozens of other junk mail pieces I receive in a given week. Having not been alive in the 60s, this mailer confirms for me that it was a colorful (if not slightly garish) era.

    One of the few weaknesses in the design was the fact that it was printed on a card stock-type paper, which made the color and contrast far more fuzzy than I would have liked. At the same time, however, I may have ignored the glossy stock because  of it being the apparent standard in direct mail marketing.

    Another weakness is that the reply card was not perforated. It actually told me to cut it out with scissors. Maybe the coupon clippers of yesteryear still have scissors within close reach at all times, but even if they’re only an arms-length away, it’s effort the prospective customer shouldn’t have to expend.

    The Scheme

    When I’m confronted with 40 or 50-year low price, I stop and look. I love the fact that they were reasonably specific and used a rather amazing statistic to get my attention.

    Of course the irrepressible nerd in me had to look up the value of $25 in 1969 (since I’m guessing they used nominal dollars as opposed to an adjusted figure. Per this site, $25 in 1969 is $146.97 today. (Which at $2.82/paper, seems more like a very pricey newsstand edition, but I digress).

    So in reality, this deal sells a Sunday paper in all it’s insert-full, special-section glory at a mere 48 cents.  It’s really tempting actually.

    Except for the fact that…

    The “Dying Newspaper” Meme Seems…

    …true.

    I think this is yet another harbinger of the demise of printed papers. Who cares if the paper is on sale, except for people who came of age in the 60s?

    How much farther can they go with deal-making until it becomes impractical. I know their revenue comes primarily from ads and not subscriptions, but this price may not even cover the cost of printing. I’m guessing this campaign really about increasing the subscriber count to boost ad revenues for the print edition. This may work temporarily, but the print news medium will never be what it once was. Advertisers are realizing this (though seemingly at a slower rate than the general population) and at some point the economics stop working. They already have for many major and minor papers.

    So congratulations Knoxville News-Sentinel. You employ some very competent designers who almost made me, a new-media-saavy-penny-pincher, buy a newspaper. Almost.

    Have an opinion about this (I hope you do!). Please share below.