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Friday, October 1, 2010

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Now a Six-Day-a-Week Paper on Newsstands

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Saturday fades away
  • Saturday fades away
Saturday fades away
If you're looking to pick up tomorrow's Saturday edition of the Post-Dispatch at area stores and newsstands, fuhgeddaboutit.

The paper announced this week that, effective tomorrow, the Saturday paper will no longer be for sale at retailers on a single-copy basis. Instead, the Post-Dispatch plans to roll out its three-star edition of the Sunday paper for sale even earlier on Saturday mornings. (Don't worry, subscribers: You'll still get a Saturday edition thrown on your lawn tomorrow.)

Post-Dispatch editor Arnie Robbins tells Daily RFT that the change is not a cost-cutting move and that the new, bulkier Sunday paper will contain Saturday's "Explore" and Lifestyle" sections combined into a new segment called "Home & Away."

"That section will be twelve pages this week, which is a lot of expensive newsprint," says Robbins. "Really, this change is all about boosting Sunday circulation. It's a trend going on throughout the industry, as Sundays are generally the most profitable paper of the week and the one in which most advertisers want to appear." 

The early edition Sunday paper will contain the Friday night prep scores, Robbins adds, and most of the news articles that subscribers to the Saturday paper will enjoy. The editor invites those who still want the Saturday paper to subscribe to a weekend or full-week subscription. "Subscribing is still far cheaper than buying it at stores on a per-issue basis," he says.

A five-star edition Sunday paper (containing news that occurred Saturday) will continue to be sold at at newsstands on Sunday mornings. Last year, the Post-Dispatch Sunday paper had a circulation of around 400,000, according to reports. At a fraction of that, the Saturday edition was traditionally the worst-selling day of the week.

So, how long until the Post-Dispatch (and all dailies for that matter) cease putting out a print publication all together?

"I'm not feeling particularly clairvoyant this morning," responds Robbins. "But I think in the next ten years you could see the elimination of the weekday paper, with the Sunday still coming out in print. The rest of the week would be online or delivered through niche products and phone and e-reader apps. We're working on a few of those projects right now that we're excited about."

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