Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Citing increased digital readership, Hattiesburg paper cuts print editions to 3 days a week

The Hattiesburg American, a Gannett Co. newspaper in southern Mississippi, announced last week that increased digital readership is leading the paper to reduce its print schedule from daily to three time per week, effective April 5. The newspaper will be printed on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

"The shift, driven by our consumers and advertisers, enables us to invest in new ways of doing business and better position ourselves for the future," writes Nathan Edwards, president of the American. "Our research shows subscribers are increasingly choosing to access the American online via our website, mobile and tablet devices, with the Hattiesburg American having 8X more digital readers than print readers. In 2016, we had 2.3 million unique visitors and 13.8 million page views. Audiences watched our videos 251,000 times—and another 774,000 times on Facebook. And the average time you spent on our stories went up 2 percent."

"This change is a strategic decision based on marketplace demand," he wrote. "Our three-day-a-week print products will be as robust as ever, if not more so, and contain all of the great content you have come to rely on and enjoy. We are taking every step to ensure our most popular features and columns find new homes in print. In addition, the majority of our businesses have already opted for a 3-day model in print, with the Sunday, Wednesday and Friday editions currently containing the majority of the American’s print advertising."

"While the frequency of the print edition is changing, our commitment to covering the news, sports, events and stories that define our community remains a 24/7 priority for our staff and journalists," he wrote. "But our mission isn’t just to be a news source—we want to help improve the community and shine a spotlight on what makes it a great place to call home. As audience and advertiser preferences evolve—from print to digital, from desktop to mobile, from words to video—we’re evolving too."

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