Many tough decisions have come across my desk in the few months since I have moved to Rolla. Some have offered great opportunity for our readers and advertisers, others have been a little more difficult. One that seems to have drawn the most interest is the handling of the TV Select product.
I want to take a moment to explain some of the thoughts surrounding the elimination of the stand-alone TV Select product. Recently the newspaper industry was rocked with increased in raw materials, newsprint jumped upwards of 14%-16% alone with ink prices jumping up another 15%. The newsprint increases were due to tariffs placed on the raw materials which caused many papers to start questioning how they can absorb those increases while not sacrificing the quality of product delivered to the readers. The amount of those increases are hard for any industry to absorb without having to make some sacrifices. One thing that was certain when considering what changes could be made, we did not want to increase our rates. That is where the difficult decision started coming into play.
In my experience, having worked in the newspaper industry for over a decade now, the TV listings are hit or miss in terms of importance to readers in most markets. Most cable and satellite companies offer the listings right there on their devices, many others have alerts or use their phones or tablets to stream or search for the shows they want to watch, but there are also many others who appreciate the local listings in their paper. Needing to find a way to continue to offer TV listings within our publications we reached out to our listings provider to see what options were available and what others were doing. From the market I had just moved from in NW Iowa and understanding products there we had offered evenings listings which seemed to be the norm in many publications in that area, so we beta tested that option. After hearing from many of you we have discovered that did not meet your needs or wants, so we are changing that.
We are currently working with our listings provider to obtain listings from 7am – 11pm to be published on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s as we have done for the month of March. Our goal is to also run those on the middle two pages of the paper to allow you the opportunity to save only that section if you wish. I am hopeful that we can have those changes within our pages by the end of this week, otherwise you will see those for sure by next week.
Many of you have expressed your opinions regarding this change and I assure you we value them. This decision did not come easily nor was it based on local management nor Gatehouse Media, this decision stemmed from the changes in the industry. Unfortunately we are forced to make tough changes from time to time, this happened to be one of those instances.
My team continues to train and work hard to correct the issues that have been expressed by those who have written, called, and emailed. Please feel free to continue to contact us and express those thoughts and opinions.