Memphis Newspaper to Scale Back Delivery West of Mississippi

by Mark Hengel  on Tuesday, Sep. 23, 2008 2:29 pm  

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal will begin rolling back its home delivery to subscribers west of the Mississippi in about a month, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Those affected can still read a replica of the print product at the Commercial-Appeal's Web site, Lou Lambert, consumer sales and marketing manager said. The paper is also working out the details on how it will distribute papers for single-copy sales.

"We are trying to put together a plan to continue single-copy sales in areas where we hope to continue or increase single-copy sales," because of the reduction in home delivery, Lambert said. "We are committed to a plan to provide single-copy papers to people who previously had delivery out there."

The paper will continue home delivery to West Memphis and Marion. It has 5,761 subscribers in Arkansas, of which between 2,000 and 2,300 will be affected, Lambert said. The remaining subscribers are in the two cities where home delivery will continue. The Commercial-Appeal's total circulation is about 184,000 on Sundays and 150,000 during the week, Lambert said.

Lambert said rising gas prices affected the decision to discontinue circulation.

"Obviously, as you get out into Arkansas and away from the Memphis DMA [designated market area] the numbers decline," Lambert said. "The cost of distribution is becoming an extremely important factor."

Subscribing to the Internet edition will cost $10 per month, compared with the $18.67 monthly sticker price for seven-day home delivery, Lambert said.

"We're trying to be at the forefront of where the [newspaper] industry is going with the e-appeal," Lambert said.

The paper's Newspapers In Education program - titled e-Appeal In Education - is also being distributed through the Internet, affecting about 75,000.

Lambert estimated that home delivery in the affected area would cease in about 30 days, though the paper has not set a timeline.

The Commercial-Appeal is owned by Scripps Howard.



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