This week has presented us with two significant developments in Minnesota’s media landscape: 1) The Utne Reader is leaving Minneapolis for Topeka, and 2) The Star Tribune metered pay wall seems to be working.
In both instances loyal readers were there, but finding loyal advertisers continues to be a struggle.
Strib metered pay wall: Web traffic down 10-15 percent, revenue up. MinnPost’s David Brauer sees good things in the early numbers on the Star Tribune’s metered pay wall system. “Long-term, there’s still reason to believe this will help create a durable digital subscriber base that advertisers eventually pay more for,” Brauer writes. “That should keep journalists celebrating.”
In addition to keeping this momentum going, the Strib is facing a new challenge to convince advertisers that a smaller audience is worth more money.
Editor-in-Chief David Schimke and his staff will not be moving to Topeka with the magazine. But he did take the time to answer a few questions.
Combs: In the past six years the Utne Reader hasn’t been able to make a profit. Why is that? Have automatic aggregaters like Google Reader replaced digests?
Schimke: I think it’s a little bit that. But the fact is, we’ve been winning awards; we even upped the price and didn’t see a decrease in subscribership. But the advertising just isn’t there. We have a small loyal audience, but it’s a difficult audience to market to.