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THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH New Format Update. A Newspaper Re-imagined… Re-invented … Re-Invented. Contemporary, Compact, Convenient Designed to appeal to today’s “ smartphone and tablet ” sensibility Designed to bring the newspaper into the modern era

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New Format Update

a newspaper re imagined re invented re invented
A Newspaper Re-imagined…Re-invented…Re-Invented

Contemporary, Compact, Convenient

  • Designed to appeal to today’s “smartphone and tablet”sensibility
  • Designed to bring the newspaper into the modern era
  • A sectioned newspaper with the compact feel of a tablet

Listening to the news consumer

  • Two phase research
    • Four focus groups (March 2011)
    • 300 prototypes tested with current Dispatch readers (June 2011)
  • Testing designs and verifying news consumer attitudes
    • Response again overwhelmingly positive
    • Provide the Editorial team feedback from our readers and allow them to create the best product in the new format
    • Provide marketing with key copy points
  • Ad Impact/Recall Study
  • Mid-March research; sample size = 600
    • 14 ad units tested
    • Compare impact/recall of same ad unit broadsheet vs. new format

An Overwhelming Majority Rated The Prototype Better Than The Current Format

How would you rate the prototype in comparison to the existing versions of the CD? Would you say that the… Base: Total Readers/Subscribers, 213 initial returns


None Of The Readers Would Discontinue Their Subscription If The Format Were To Change

Base: Total Reader/Subscribers, 213 initial returns; #21. Obviously, some readers will like the new prototype and others will prefer the existing format. Suppose more readers prefer the format that you do NOT prefer, how likely are you to continue reading CD?


Advertisements In The New Format Had Similar Or Better Recall

Source: Mulder Solutions LLC; March 2012. 394 total respondents; 13 same share of voice ad units tested.


Benefits For Readers

Benefits to Readers

  • More convenient, manageable, portable format
  • No price change for subscribers or single copy
  • Enhanced content, adding new sections, destination pages, and high value content.
  • Same uncompromised editorial quality and breadth of coverage

Benefits to Advertisers

  • Strong recall  Share Of Voice
  • Increased readership leading to better advertising ROI
  • Enhanced reader experience & convenient format in sync with the tablet generation
  • Continue with the use of modular ad units
  • New sections, adjacencies, and high impact opportunities
  • No changes to preprint advertising opportunities
  • No change to rate structure

Benefits to Production

  • Straight mode production = 50% more output in same production window
  • Current Output 3V Output
  • 50k cph (x 1.5) = 75k cph
  • Increase facility capacity; particularly useful in the premium newspaper production window—10 PM to 2 AM.
  • Improved press flexibility by being able to retain existing broadsheet capability and provide new 3V cutoff (two folders/press)
  • Fewer spliced rolls per production run.
  • Achieve the faster output while running the presses at the same or even slower speeds should help the “life” of the equipment
  • Newsprint Savings

New Format Sales Results

  • Total Starts up 7% YOY; Voluntary up 38% YOY, averaging 1,115 per week
  • Acquired a younger, more affluent audience than traditional subscriber (compared to subscribers gained through other direct marketing efforts)
      • Younger.  46% of those subscribers are between ages 18-39.
      • More affluent.  58% have a HHI higher than $75K per year
      • More likely to have children. Nearly half of these new subscribers have children compared to less than a third of our more tenured subscribers

Lessons Learned from Editorial…

  • The process demands that we not just turn what we do today into a future mini-version.
  • Education is an ongoing must.
  • The chance to "reinvent the wheel" has invigorated the Editorial staff, with 50-plus people involved in organized discussions about content and presentation
  • We naturally think what we do is the best we can do, but we stripped the paper down to the studs and asked: what did readers tell us to do? And then we did it, using the new size to build a magazine-like newspaper...

From Advertising…

  • Change to UNIT pricing far in advance of any shift
  • Implement a process to call on ALL top 80% of customers
  • Invest in your own local, independent research
  • Rethink the experience, don’t just downsize

From Circulation…

  • Collation practice & time needed.
  • Increase customer service availability.
  • Biggest concern from insert advertisers: Will inserts fall out of the paper? We inserted the kraft jacket so that the open side of the jacket was placed inside the fold of the paper.

From Production…

  • Think process and people. Technology hiccups can sometimes be solved faster than the staff embracing change, training new employees, and recruitment to cover a growing business.
  • Build in as many buffers & contingencies of resources as you can all the way through the process.
  • Change is inevitable; however, change as few things as possible in addition to the planned changes.

Ongoing Operational Changes

  • Since our launch we have doubled our newsprint volume bringing on Cincinnati and associated products—approximately 2,000 MT per month.
  • Insert volume has increased by 50%. We now produce TMC, daily, and Sunday insert packages for 12 daily newspapers.
    • 438MM inserts 2012
    • 656MM inserts 2013 (P1-8 actual & P9-12 projected)
  • Nearly doubled our press staff.
  • Added 150+ PT packaging department staff.
  • Typical press speeds are between 75-80K cph. Folder is rated at 90K cph.


Kelly Cline

Production General Manager

Dispatch Printing Company