Detroit News and Free Press Experiment: Early Returns are In

Almost daily I am asked how the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press’ Thursday, Friday, Sunday delivery experiment is going. Are the papers losing readers and subscribers? Are more migrating to the online versions?

Some interesting highlights of the first 30 days:

-Initially, 10,000 people cancelled their subscriptions, roughly half the projected number. Additionally, many of these individuals, after being contacted, are returning—at a rate of 100 a day.

-Some 6,300 have opted to have non-delivery days supplanted by mail delivery; an option that triples the subscription price—again, exceeding expectations.

-The e-editions of the papers are attracting about 30,000 visits per day each (5-6 times the amount before reduced delivery began) and 3 million page views per week.

-Single copy sales via retailer are trending in the 200,000 per week range (down from 500,000, which included home deliveries), the intended goal.

Thus, while the program is still in its infancy, early returns are good. The real key will be ad revenue and whether those projected goals can be met and maintained, along with multi-platform readership. So far, though, so good.