Kevin Cody

Easy Reader to be mailed monthly to Hermosa, Manhattan, Redondo homes

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“Sisyphus.” Illustration by Bob Staake (BobStaake.com)

 

A letter to readers and advertisers

On Thursday, November 14, for the first time in nearly 50 years, Easy Reader will not be thrown to homes in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach.

Instead, Easy Reader will be mailed on November 14. The issue will be a combination of the weekly Easy Reader and our monthly magazine Beach. Easy Reader/Beach will subsequently be mailed on the second Thursday of each month. On the other Thursdays of each month, Easy Reader will continue to be carrier delivered to homes. 

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Direct mail is Easy Reader’s answer to the newspaper industry’s dual problems of declining readership and declining advertising.

Nationwide, since 2004,  newspaper employment has declined almost 50 percent and revenue 70 percent. Over 1,800 of the 10,000 newspapers in 2004 have closed.

Locally, the LA Times newsroom has shrunk from 1,100 at its peak to 500. It’s print circulation has fallen from 1 million daily to 500,000. The Daily Breeze had 23 reporters and 90,000 circulation in the early 2000s. Today, it has three reporters in the South Bay and under 20,000 daily circulation

Easy Reader has maintained its 45,000 weekly circulation, a paper for every single family home in the three Beach Cities. But staffing is down from 35 to 10. As in the pre internet years, we’ve kept three reporters for the three Beach Cities. But our editor’s position is vacant and our sports and copy editors are part time.

Newspaper declines are not due to declines in readers or advertisers, but to the splintering of the two among newspapers and internet sites.

Traditionally, local newspapers, like local schools, local government and local stores have helped  bind communities through the “water cooler effect,” by providing a common source of news for conversation. 

“Snail mail” to Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach homes will help Easy Reader continue to serve this role. 

The consensus among news organizations is our future is digital subscriptions. Among its advantages are the elimination of printing and distribution costs. And more importantly, a lifting of the sometimes warranted suspicion, that newspapers put their advertisers’ interests ahead of the readers.’ But the operative word in the subscription model is “future.” After a century of essentially free news from newspapers, television and radio, few readers are willing to pay for digital news. Ask the Los Angeles Times. 

In 2018, the Times sold 52,000 new digital subscriptions. But it lost 39,000 subscribers to what is known in sales as “churn,” for a net of 13,000 new subscribers. Their 2018 goal was 150,000 new digital subscribers.

The internet’s appeal to advertisers is also eroding. As social media grows, the “open rate” for social media, including newsletters and websites, declines. 

“Snail mail” has a 100 percent open rate. Ask the politicians. As elections near, their favorite local advertising is direct mail. Mail remains, even in the internet age, the most effective way to deliver news to readers and eyeballs to advertisers.

Mail is expensive. But remember the Old School saying. You get what you pay for. 

Kevin Cody, publisher

 

Readers’ and advertisers’ comments  on are welcome. Please email them to EasyReader@EasyReadernews.com. ER/B

 

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