Monday, October 19, 2009

Hooksett Banner to publish weekly

There is some seemingly good news on the local media front: The Hooksett Banner, one of the Neighborhood News newspapers serving the suburban Manchester region, will return to publishing as a weekly, according to a notice on the front page of the Oct. 15 edition.
The Banner and the Goffstown News moved to bi-weekly publication in April, a few months after the company, which is owned by the Union Leader parent corporation, merged the News and the Bow Times into one publication. The newspaper noted that due to a drop in advertising, the paper would be making the change.
Back in April, the Banner was 20 pages; last week, it was 24 pages on Oct. 15. So, one could assume that revenue has picked up again, enough to go back to a weekly publication. Newspapers tend to favor a 50-50 ad to content ratio split in its print editions not including circulars or inserts in between the main books. An increase in size from 20 to 24 pages, for example, could possibly mean that the edition had two more pages in advertising for that edition, assuming that Neighborhood News uses the 50-50 ratio split.
At the time I wrote that bedroom communities with no retail base are very difficult markets for newspapers, especially free ones with no subscription base. Subscriptions usually cover the bulk of the expense, since there is limited advertising locally. Even though advertisers outside of a community want to pitch their products to affluent readers, that isn't enough these days to sustain the physical product. If there is nothing to pay for the physical newspaper, it can't be sustained, unfortunately. At the same time, I wondered if the Monitor increased its Bow news, would it gain more subscriptions? It doesn't seem to have done that. The Times operation, which had always been mailed to homes for free in Bow, didn't seem to think that a paid edition mailed to homes would work either.
No one yet on whether the News will go back to being a weekly or not but this is clearly positive news in an otherwise dark time for newspapers.

Also, in the Sunday Concord Monitor, there was an interesting overview of the state of newspapers in Claremont: ["Newspaper War"]. The story featured the Monitor's sister newspaper, the Valley News, prominently, including a picture of Mark Travis and did offer a disclaimer in the story. One could presume it is pretty good times for a small city when its daily newspaper files for bankruptcy, other entities come in to cover the news, and then, the bankrupt newspaper is revived after another company buys it, meaning there are even more news and marketing options for readers.

No comments: