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Poll: The Times Colonist: Will it survive? (1 member(s) have cast votes)

The Times Colonist: Will it survive?

  1. Yes - The TC will always be here as a daily paper (17 votes [20.99%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.99%

  2. Yes - but not a daily (26 votes [32.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.10%

  3. Yes - but Internet only (13 votes [16.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.05%

  4. No - it is no longer viable (25 votes [30.86%])

    Percentage of vote: 30.86%

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#21 mat

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:39 PM

Not to mention the News Group of papers are delivered to the door free.

A few months ago the TC was giving away free three month subscriptions with no strings attached. I guess in an effort to pump up their distribution numbers for sale attractability.


just as I was reading that - phone call from the TC! Do we want the paper no obligation 2 weeks free.

When I 'jokingly' mentioned the recent Canwest news, the lady trying to sell said "you might be getting the last copies"...

Agreed with you completely - the only reason to offer 'free' long term (3 months?) trials is to boost circulation for both advertiser numbers and a pre-sale package. The fact they are still trying reeks of desperation.

It's a real shame in some ways - we are in a paradigm shift (have been for some time) in media provision. Newsprint - the actual paper with ink - is a familiar part of most people's daily experience; a quick read in a coffee shop, doctors office, on the bus or at home. The fact is new media is far more responsive and immediate - and individually organizable.

#22 Sue Woods

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 11:56 PM

It's a real shame in some ways - we are in a paradigm shift (have been for some time) in media provision. Newsprint - the actual paper with ink - is a familiar part of most people's daily experience; a quick read in a coffee shop, doctors office, on the bus or at home. The fact is new media is far more responsive and immediate - and individually organizable.


Same for the TV news industry. Huge changes over 40 short years. (*When I started in the 70's there were a few older employees who used to joke that "they did TV when it was still radio.")

From total infancy (when it took hundreds to run a station) to a sketon crew due to automation.

The studio used to have three cameramen, a floor director, audio and video crew, script assistants, producer and kyron operator (name titles under talking heads). Then cameras became automated and only a floor director is required, with a smaller crew in the control room.

A news crew used to be a field camera person, audio crew, a reporter and a marked news van. Now reporters are referred to as videographers and mostly work alone in their own cars.

Over a period of 30 years we went from news film editing (used razor blades and scotch tape to splice images together) to video carts (80s) and then digital editing. Its faster and therefore fewer editors needed. At BCTV in the 80s there were over a dozen editors. Now most newsrooms just need three or four.

Newsrooms also used to have a three or four producers who vetted scripts but now only one, if any, is needed. Also there were news writers but now hosts do their own tag lines and story copy.

In the 80s most newsrooms had 15-20 news reporters. These days half a dozen is standard.

Lots of ex-tv-folks around who have seen the industry go from huge employment numbers to a fraction of that. Now we are seeing same thing happening to the print industry.

#23 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 12:17 AM

We should start a pool - what goes down first, the TC or CHEK? A month ago I would have said CHEK, but now I'm not sure.

Car ads have helped the TC over the last few years, but car sales are poor, and almost all classified ads are dead.

It looks bleak.

#24 mat

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 12:51 AM

We should start a pool - what goes down first, the TC or CHEK? A month ago I would have said CHEK, but now I'm not sure.

Car ads have helped the TC over the last few years, but car sales are poor, and almost all classified ads are dead.

It looks bleak.


VHF - as this is a TC thread I put a poll up questioning viability. IMO, it's on life support and the docs are just waiting for permission to pull the plug. That's not only just about the Canwest problems - but general issues around print news.

As for CHEK vs TC - good question.

#25 victorian fan

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 11:23 AM

My husband will be extremely cross if he no longer gets the early morning TC, as I imagine will many seniors.

#26 yodsaker

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 12:05 PM

Dailies are in big trouble all over North America and here is no exception. I read the TC for local stories but I'm finding that I get a whole lot of news here on VV and faster with good pics. I also like that I get several p.o.v's of a story from different posters. Though the TC has some good photogs (Debra Brash is great) they have nothing resembling GITS pics from the crane.
I liked CHEK and thought the original VI was awful. Hudson Mack seems to have inspired them since the make-over into A-News and their on-air news look is way better than CHEK these days. Too many of the CHEK on-air people look like kids just out out of b'cast school. Their voice skills are non-existent and it often seems like they don't really know anything about what they are reading. Didn't anyone tell them the news anchor has to have some gravitas? Viewers want to trust the anchors actually know what they are talking about.
And the cardboard news desk.... aaarrgghhhh!!!!

#27 aastra

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 01:31 PM

Viewers want to trust the anchors actually know what they are talking about.


Seriously? I'm trying to remember if I've ever felt that way about a news anchor.

That's actually one of my pet peeves about TV news actors. That whole grit-your-teeth-and-grimace as you talk about a plane crash or a grisly murder or whatever it might happen to be. It's just acting and it's not even very good acting.

And then immediately brighten up like a kid in a candy store when you switch to sports or fashion news or whatever else.

#28 victorian fan

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 01:57 PM

Viewers want to trust the anchors actually know what they are talking about.


Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America.

#29 yodsaker

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 05:47 PM

Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America.


Exactly who I was alluding to. When Cronkite turned against the VN war on the air, LBJ said he knew the game was up because, "I've lost the most trusted man in America." Cronkite was more, much more than a talking head hired for his ability to segue from plane crash to kennel club meeting. He was a respected war correspondent member of the WW2 CBS News all-star team.
My point was that Mack can project an aura of seriousness and credibility. The CHEK people are chirpy but green.

#30 AnonAnnie2

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 10:05 PM

*Ads to expensive
When buying advertising always check who is reading the publication, is it the market your product/business is geared towards?

and as important...how many 'eyeballs' is the publication getting?

Its great if you are buying cheap advertising but if it isn't your market and nobody sees it how cheap is it?

Might as well flush your money down the drain.

(I used to sell advertising)

#31 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 06:31 PM

Great post by the Vagueware blog about online newspaper business models (or lack thereof): Business Models of News (posted 2/23).

Excerpt:

There is an awful lot of consternation going on amongst the suits behind online news websites. (...)

(...)

When you buy a newspaper (if you still do), your money is not to pay the wages of the staff who produced the paper - the money is to offset distribution costs mostly. The printing, shipping and selling of newspapers is an inconvenient but necessary cost and in order to keep everybody from the newsagent all the way through to the inky-fingered man who produced the paper happy, you pay your pennies for the finished article.

The main source of income always has been and always will be, the advertising. In case you’re wondering, it’s the same story in the magazine industry.

Now, let’s move things online. The distribution costs of a website are tiny compared to that of a physical newspaper. If you were to choose the comparatively costly hosting services of Amazon’s EC2 cloud resource, and had 10 small server instances running and were fortunate enough to be shifting a few hundred gigabytes of data a day, your total costs would be less than $60 a day. That’s about £40. Compare that to the £650m needed for the printing presses of the modern paper editions.

Therefore if distribution costs are near enough to zero for online editions, why bother asking the customer to pay for them? It’s almost sound logic, except they then made a major, major error.

They gave the advertising away for free.

Phone any regional newspaper title in the country and speak to their ad sales team. The conversation will result in them offering you a rate card for the print edition. Sound sceptical about the costs and benefits. They will offer space online for free. Every time. I know, because I’ve spoken to quite a few ad sales teams in the last year.

In essence to secure the advertising for the print edition, they have in the past completely undermined the business they need to survive in the future. They have told every one of their advertisers that online adverts are not worth paying for.

(...)

Here’s a good example of bad thinking about what it takes to succeed online. Craigslist has about a dozen employees and clears about $100m a year in revenues, thanks to their UGC [user-generated-content] structure. That’s some margin! The BBC gets £3 billion a year in license fees, so by the same gearing (ignoring the obvious differences in structure and intent of a non-commercial entity like the BBC) they shouldn’t need more than perhaps a few hundred journalists. Do you know how many journalists the BBC employs? 7,000. Seven. Thousand. And they, for their budget, are considered quite an efficient news outfit. (more)

And so on. Good article, good blog.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#32 mat

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 10:36 PM

Ms B - that's a great post. It's always nice when someone points out the obvious; the big problem for all traditional media is managing the transition of high cost overhead into a flexible paradigm that can still make money.

We had this discussion today on the VV walk and the question of the NYT came up - this is a company that is in real trouble, yet is a media icon, probably the most widely read online and print news in the world, and has gone through all the current phases trying various models to create revenue for online content. Paid, free, pay for some, flash adverts etc. - the fact that general ad revenue is tanking does not help.

Good article in the Guardian today on the future of the NYT.

The Atlantic Monthly columnist Michael Hirschorn last month envisaged what the world would look like without the Times in print form. He conceived a fully-online version that would be much smaller both in size and ambition, like a glorified Huffington Post. Reports of the paper's imminent death are exaggerated, but it would not be much of a stretch to say that the Times is in intensive care. Certainly, there is much apprehension among its staff. As one journalist puts it: "There is a sense of impending dread, that something is going to happen. We just don't know what or when."

Advertising revenue within the group has collapsed by almost 20% over the past two years, through a combination of the continuing challenge of the internet and recession. The company carries a debt burden of $1.1bn, yet has just $57m in ready cash.


The NYT experiment of paid access failed...just like all others (Globe and Mail take note)

The most deadly serious conversation concerns a return to charging for content. This is a sore subject, as the experiment of TimesSelect was such an abject failure. It was dropped after two years in September 2007 having raised a mere $10m a year. Its formula is widely discredited - it charged for comment but not for news, and as a result failed to reach many subscribers and alienated advertisers. NYT.com's monthly traffic now stands at 21 million unique visitors a month; just before last November's presidential election it was 54 million. "It's hard to imagine the Times brand not holding a value through this crisis and then having a future," says the paper's former editor Howell Raines. "There are simply so few other brands left able to carry such an international following." This "last-man-standing" thesis is highly popular among Times executives. But it is meaningless unless the magic formula is found that will turn hits into dimes.


When it comes to local media the shake up is happening, and quickly - print distribution is out, has been for a long time for any form of paid delivery be it newspapers or magazines. The free paper model might continue to work for neighbourhood local content (Black Press, Monday, Focus etc.), but delivery costs are far too high for regional/provincial or national editions.

It is the likes of TYEE that are the model for the future in news.

#33 Newlywednotnearlydead

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 11:04 PM

I think there are two main problems with the traditional print media. First, they really made an error when they put basically all of their content on the internet for free at the beginning of the internet age. I almost never read the newspaper for classifieds, I read it for news articles. When they put the articles on the internet, I stopped buying a copy of the paper because, well, I don't like paying when they make it available for free online.

Secondly, I think Canada's news went into the toilet thanks to media consolidation. I want good local reporting, not a pile of stories pulled off the wire. Most of the time, I enjoy reading bloggers much more than I enjoy reading the local newspaper. Most newspapers don't seem to want to rock the boat, they're so beholden to advertisers that they don't go against the status quo, especially for financial matters. I've been reading Austrian economist bloggers on the internet who predicted this economic crisis several years ago who would never get publicity in the media because they talked about taboo subjects, like telling people to stop amassing consumer debt and that housing prices were in a bubble. By not offering any sort of contrarian viewpoints, I think the local papers lost a lot of credibility.

#34 yodsaker

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 10:27 AM

I think there are two main problems with the traditional print media. First, they really made an error when they put basically all of their content on the internet for free at the beginning of the internet age. I almost never read the newspaper for classifieds, I read it for news articles. When they put the articles on the internet, I stopped buying a copy of the paper because, well, I don't like paying when they make it available for free online.

Secondly, I think Canada's news went into the toilet thanks to media consolidation. I want good local reporting, not a pile of stories pulled off the wire. Most of the time, I enjoy reading bloggers much more than I enjoy reading the local newspaper. Most newspapers don't seem to want to rock the boat, they're so beholden to advertisers that they don't go against the status quo, especially for financial matters. I've been reading Austrian economist bloggers on the internet who predicted this economic crisis several years ago who would never get publicity in the media because they talked about taboo subjects, like telling people to stop amassing consumer debt and that housing prices were in a bubble. By not offering any sort of contrarian viewpoints, I think the local papers lost a lot of credibility.


Good post, newlywed

#35 Caramia

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 02:36 PM

This link never gets old - a nice piece of Sci-Fi about the death of print media and the new Googlezon age... that is coming true faster than expected... created in 2004:

Epic2015
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#36 mat

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 05:28 PM

There will be an announcement on CHEK news and A-Channel this evening on the 6pm broadcasts.

A-Channel staff will be called to an information meeting Tuesday - they are likely to close within the month.

CHEK is up for sale - they have one month to find a buyer (hmmmm! VVTV?) or they will close as well.

#37 Mike K.

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 05:39 PM

A-Channel staff will be called to an information meeting Tuesday - they are likely to close within the month.


Perhaps I haven't been paying as much attention as I should have been, but A Channel's potential demise comes out of left field, doesn't it? That's if I'm understanding "they are likely to close within the month" correctly.

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#38 mat

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 06:27 PM

Perhaps I haven't been paying as much attention as I should have been, but A Channel's potential demise comes out of left field, doesn't it? That's if I'm understanding "they are likely to close within the month" correctly.


CTV was very quiet until last week when it announced a 100mill loss, and they then immediately closed the Windsor Ont. A Channel.

A-Channel Victoria is owned by CTV under A-Channel BC, my feeling is all the BC stations will close within the month. Global might be the next channel to be axed.

CHEK - there is unlikely to be a buyer. If no one has come forward before this announcement then it is really just a spin to raise some hope.

So, we are losing all TV news on the Island.

#39 yodsaker

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 07:59 PM

CTV was very quiet until last week when it announced a 100mill loss, and they then immediately closed the Windsor Ont. A Channel.

A-Channel Victoria is owned by CTV under A-Channel BC, my feeling is all the BC stations will close within the month. Global might be the next channel to be axed.

CHEK - there is unlikely to be a buyer. If no one has come forward before this announcement then it is really just a spin to raise some hope.

So, we are losing all TV news on the Island.


Good, nobody will know what we nefarious Islanders are up to:D
Seriously though, it would be a loss. It's always interesting to know what's happening on the whole island.

#40 mat

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 09:05 PM

Good, nobody will know what we nefarious Islanders are up to:D
Seriously though, it would be a loss. It's always interesting to know what's happening on the whole island.


The question for everyone is this - how do you feel about all local TV, print and radio going, and I mean lost as is, in the next 3 months?

That is the potential right now. We will lose A-Channel, CHEK - likely CFAX and the TC.

There is a huge opportunity for an new group to take over a combined web/radio/tv feed news org locally, the problem is, no one has that kind of money.

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