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Monday, February 4, 2013

Hussman feels the pinch in Chattanooga

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 10:11 AM

WALTER HUSSMAN: His newspaper to rely more heavily on readers and subscribers.
  • WALTER HUSSMAN: His newspaper to rely more heavily on readers and subscribers.
jimromensko.com pointed me to an article about the Chattanooga daily newspaper, whose publisher Walter Hussman, also publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has sent a letter to readers that subscription costs are going up because of declining advertising revenue. From thechattanoogan.com, an independent website:

He said that circulation at the newspaper has increased in recent years, though many other newspapers had heavy circulation losses.

Mr. Hussman, who heads the WEHCO publishing chain based in Little Rock, Ark., said newspapers for many years thrived on advertising revenues that provided 80 percent of funds. He said there now are many advertising options and that some of the major advertisers have gone away.

He said due to the major changes in the newspaper business, including challenges from TV, radio, Internet news outlets and other competitors, "we have seen our profits dwindle to unsustainable levels."

Mr. Hussman said, "If you as our readers will support this change, we can continue to have a newspaper that all Chattanooga can be proud of as one of the best in America."

In keeping with practice in Little Rock, the letter distributed in Chattanooga didn't specify circulation costs or increases. As noted here before, the Democrat-Gazette has a wide range of subscription prices and they are subject to negotiation. A subscriber who got notice of a subscription price increase of roughly 50 percent in Little Rock, to $273 a year, reports that he called to cancel the subscription in January and was then renewed at last year's rate. The Chattanooga newspaper website puts daily-Sunday home delivery there at $251.88 a year.

NOTED: Hussman has written a similar letter to Democrat-Gazette readers. It appeared in ad form in last weekend's Northwest Arkansas edition.

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