Hearne: Slipping Circulation Fuels Ad Exodus at KC Star

The bottom line is the bottom line…

Slipping circulation and the decline in readership by key demographics at the Kansas City Star present a gloomy scenario that far exceeds the effects of the current economic bust. Like most media, revenues will improve when better times return but the ongoing shift by advertisers (and readers) to other delivery mechanisms will continue to erode profits at the newspaper, resulting in more and more cutbacks and downsizing.

It’s inevitable.

Think of it as a variation of what Star cartoonist Lee Judge told an assembly of locals at a KC Public Library talk shortly after he learned that he had been laid off by the newspaper along with myself and sports columnist Jeff Flanagan.

“Daddy is a blacksmith,” Judge said he told his kids when he went home on that dark day.

Translation: the times they are a changing. Just as horseless carriages replaced the once-mighty horse, the electronic media is ripping away at the financially luctrative monopoly newspapers have held more than a century.

Price Chopper, for example, recently migrated the distribution of much of its weekly print flyers to direct mail, owing to waning Star circulation and its desire to reach more area households.

“The same problems Price Chopper has been having with the lack of circulation, all the grocery stores are having, says Mail-Sort’s Steve Laningham. “HyVee has 600,000 homes that they’re going to mail to so that’s three times the circulation of the Star. Hen House has 370,000 homes on their list that they want to mail to.”

Forget the “million readers” the Star often touts. At best the newspaper reaches 200,000 addresses on most days and Laningham projects that number may be closer to 180,000 when new circulation numbers come out.

“They’re losing about 10 percent of their readership a year,” Laningham says.

Which poses a substantial problem to grocers wanting to reach each and every customer in range of their outlets in a Greater Kansas City population estimated at 2 million people.

“The grocery stores want to make sure everyone is getting their ads, not just newspaper subscribers,” Laningham says. “And we have an election coming up next year, and the presidential election in two years, and we all know they’re going to be very polarizing elections. And some people don’t want to continue to subscribe to a paper because of its politics. It may not be a big percentage, but even if it’s 5 percent it adds up.

“And let’s face it,

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14 Responses to Hearne: Slipping Circulation Fuels Ad Exodus at KC Star

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Back to that bottom line: direct mailers like Mail-Sort can deliver grocery flyers that cost millions of dollars a year to distribute in the Star for a fraction the cost, Laningham says.”
    This quote does not make sense??

    Star has Citywide coverage on Wedns. Don’t know the totals. I did read a billboard that Price Chopper was mailing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    good god Hearne! You just posted about 3 entries with the same stuff.
    you HATE the Star, eh?!
    ok ok. but enough already.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I used to really look forward to reading the Star and I didn’t think I would ever cancel my subscription. The quality of the paper took such a drastic drop and subscription rates kept rising that there was no reason for me to pay $250+/year for a something I can read online in 5 minutes. I really hated doing it, but the paper quality is dreadful. I half wonder that there won’t be another competitor jump up to fill the void. The Star should truly be embarrassed at the quality of paper they put out today.

  4. Anonymous says:

    man in front of Sam’s club
    “Hey you want a free Star with a cartoon umbrella.”
    Then when you say “NO.” He threatens to kick your ass.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just for the record – I throw the grocery store mailers in the trash.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I used to love reading the paper. That paper is such a biased worthless vast of nothing that I rarely even pick up Sunday’s paper. I called them this week to print a story about Blue Valley in the running for the Presidential commencement at graduation- the guy told me it would only be news if they won. Well thank you very much because they lost because you didn’t give it any front page space so we could get the votes! SHAME ON THEM! I hate the KC Star too!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Check it now, bschloz…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Peter Pan
    What i’ve learned. Mermaid can read??? (You shouldn’t just judge her by her tan and cosmetic surgery) You shouldn’t hate. Shame on them

  9. Anonymous says:

    craig glazer
    Mermaid has had no surgery.

  10. Anonymous says:

    craig glazer
    Mermaid went to TCU and was an honors student at SME.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Peter pan
    Just messing with her. Not serious. Craig why is a stud like you blogging on a saturday night?

  12. Anonymous says:

    craig glazer
    I’m at work, at Legends…club

  13. Anonymous says:

    Johnny P
    Fuck that fishwrap

  14. Anonymous says:

    Peter pan
    Not rest for the weary huh Craig.

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