Boston Globe Is Now the Dollar Store of Dailies

November 22, 2018

Recipients of the latest Boston Globe Weekender newsletter were greeted with this cheery offering from local scribe Michael Andor Brodeur.

From now through what is still for some reason called “Cyber Monday,” Weekenders can score a one-year subscription to the Globe online for just a buck a week for a year. I just did the math on that and it comes out to just $52, which is objectively less than other prices (including the usual $360).

 

Stop the presses!

On second thought, don’t. For several years now the Globeniks have staked their future on expanded digital revenues, as the redoubtable Dan Kennedy noted last month in Media Nation.

[T]he paper is reporting that it has passed the 100,000 level for digital-only subscriptions, a benchmark the paper’s executives had originally hoped to reach by the end of June. Don Seiffert of the Boston Business Journal has the details.

When I interviewed Globe editor Brian McGrory for “The Return of the Moguls” nearly two years ago, he said the paper would start to look like a sustainable business if it could hit 200,000.

 

Not to be the skunk at the garden party, but given that 1) the Globe introduced its paywall in 2011, and 2) it’s taken seven years to get to 100,000 digital-only subscribers, the question remains: Will Globe owner John Henry have the patience to wait until 2025 for the paper “to look like a sustainable business”?

As the BBJ’s Seiffert noted:

[G]etting to the second 100,000 subscriptions will be a heavy lift for a paper like the Globe that’s bound by geography. Rick Edmonds, media business analyst for the Poynter Institute, said in an email interview a couple weeks ago regarding the Globe’s digital progress that “as with print circulation, (digital) growth can be hard to sustain.”

“It takes marketing, a steady effort to convert people to fully paid, keeping renewal rates up and replacing churned subs with new ones at the discounted price,” said Edmonds. “If times are tight and (Globe owner) John Henry is impatient with losses as he has said — I can see the budget for all of that being cut back.”

 

Maybe even cut back to a dollar a week.

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Boston Sunday Globe’s – Gasp! – Circulation Increase

October 9, 2018

So the hardreading staff was working its way through the Sunday papers when we came upon this notice on page 2 of the Boston Globe’s Ideas section.

 

 

One number that caught our eye was the Boston Sunday Globe print circulation increase from an average of 201,358 last year to 213,557 last month.

 

 

Next item of interest: The Globe’s paid digital subscriptions, which have risen to 111,680 according to this filing.

 

 

Problem is, Globe editor Brian McGrory has repeatedly stated that the paper needs to corral 200,000 digital subscribers to ensure its financial sustainability.

So half a loaf doesn’t quite make it, no?

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, on the other hand, the circulation news is downright dismal, as the Boston Business Journal’s Don Seiffert recently noted.

Boston Herald print circulation sees biggest drop in three years

The Boston Herald’s weekday print circulation saw a bigger drop in the first three months of 2018 compared to the previous quarter than it’s seen anytime in at least the past three years.

The newspaper’s weekday average print circulation fell to 40,914 during the first quarter of 2018, according to a report the Herald filed this week with the Alliance for Audited Media.

That’s a drop in circulation of nearly 3,200 subscribers — about 7.2 percent — from the fourth quarter of 2017. It marks the largest three-month decline in the paper’s weekday print circulation since at least 2015.

 

See our kissin’ cousins at One-Daily Town for further gory details.


John Henry Held Hostage by Boston Herald, Day One

December 14, 2017

From our Hark! The Herald! desk

It’s always entertaining – and sometimes enlightening – when the Boston Herald covers itself, and this story in today’s edition is no exception.

Judge approves Herald to continue business as usual

The Herald’s lights will stay on and it can pay most of its bills during the bankruptcy process, a Delaware judge ruled, as the newspaper enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy eyeing a late February sale to GateHouse Media.

Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein yesterday gave interim approval for business at the Herald to continue mostly as usual, including paying for utilities, payroll and insurance policies, as lawyers piece through the newspaper’s bankruptcy filing and GateHouse’s $4.5 million offer.

 

But not to pay the selfie local tabloid’s printer. “Herald bankruptcy attorney Bill Baldiga said the judge delayed approving payments to The Boston Globe for amounts owed for printing, delivery, inserts and paper returns, given uncertainty about the totals.”

What’s absolutely certain, though, is that the Herald owes the Globe “an estimated $600,000,” according to the former’s bankruptcy filing reproduced in the Boston Business Journal.

So it might not be a coincidence that Globe publisher John Henry wrote this mash note atop today’s editorial page.

Pat Purcell’s service to Boston

Patrick J. Purcell, longtime owner and publisher of the Boston Herald, is someone who has spent most of his adult life tending to the most essential task of our democracy: leading civic conversations in Boston that are sometimes contentious but are invariably important. While his efforts on behalf of journalism for the city are very well known, the personal impact he has had on so many over decades isn’t as familiar.

Our city knows Purcell as the driven media executive who bought the Herald from Rupert Murdoch in 1994. But he’s also unfailingly described as a loyal friend and devoted family man, who landed here after a colorful career in New York and became a Bostonian to his core.

 

Of course, Henry wouldn’t be so crass as to include an invoice in the editorial, although he did mention the Globe’s printing facility:

“I was giving Pat a tour of the Globe’s new print facility in Taunton about a year ago and as we walked through, people would seek him out just to shake his hand and thank him for things he had quietly done for them personally, or for something he had done to help a family member or associate.”

Guilt . . . guilt . . . guilt . . .

The bankruptcy court will address payments to the Globe on January 4. We’ll see if Henry’s still feeling this collegial after that.


GE Brings No Things (or Ads) to Life at Boston Herald

July 5, 2016

From our bottomless Local Dailies DisADvantage desk

As the hardreading staff has noted, when General Electric decided to move its corporate headquarters to Boston last April, GE celebrated its migration with this full-page ad in the Boston Globe.

 

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But, as we also noted, GE ignored the Boston Herald.

The [ad’s] small type: “GE and Boston are the perfect combination to usher in a new digital industrial revolution. We’re proud to call the city that never stops making history our new home.”

But, apparently, not proud enough to run its ad in the Boston Herald.

Hey, GEniks: You’re moving to a two-daily town. Show the thirsty local tabloid some love, eh?

 

Since then GE – totally ignoring us – has run a series of full-page ads in the Globe but not the Herald, such as this one in May:

 

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And, in yesterday’s Globe, yet another full-page suck-up.

 

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We’ll say it again:

Hey, GEniks: You’re moving to a two-daily town. Show the thirsty local tabloid some love, eh?


Boston Herald Still the Thirsty Local Tabloid for Ads

May 4, 2016

From our Local Dailies DisADvantage desk

The Boston Herald has long been the venue of last resort for full-page ads of the advocacy/corporate image/memorial sort.

As it was yesterday, when the Herald was bypassed by two ads that ran in the Boston Globe.

First, this Boston suck-up ad from GE (which in this town stands for Got Everything.)

 

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Then, this Boston Ad Club full-page backpat honoring diversity in a town that has long hampered diversity.

 

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(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, yesterday’s Herald did feature this full-page bank ad.

 

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As well as this half-page Massachusetts tax amnesty ad.

 

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Neither of which ran in yesterday’s Globe.

Still, there’s no question that the Herald is an afterthought in the eyes of local advertisers.

Which makes it all the more interesting that the feisty local tabloid seems to enjoy better fiscal fitness than the stately local broadsheet, which is now desperately downsizing (tip o’ the pixel to the redoubtable Dan Kennedy at Media Nation) as it moves from its sprawling Morrissey Boulevard home to cramped quarters in Boston’s financial district.

So who’s really at a disadvantage, eh?


General Electric Turns Lights Out on Boston Herald

April 4, 2016

From our Local Dailies DisADvantage desk

The much-heralded arrival of GE headquarters in Boston has been all about the money, and today’s headlines are no different. From the Boston Business Journal:

GE to donate tens of millions to Boston schools, health care centers

 

General Electric committed Monday to donating $50 million over the next five years to Boston public schools, workforce training programs and local health care centers, ahead of an event this afternoon with politicians and business leaders welcoming the global conglomerate to the city. general-electric-energy-01*750xx3667-2063-0-215

The company’s foundation (NYSE: GE) will give $25 million to Boston Public Schools for computer science courses, classes to prepare students to enter college and the workforce, and the creation of a program called GE Brilliant Career Labs that gives students access to manufacturing technology and software.

Another $15 million will go toward training workers at 22 community health centers around Greater Boston in the areas of technology, leadership and specialty care, while GE will reserve $10 million for programs for “diverse students,” including training and externships for students in Lynn, Fall River and other cities and towns outside of the Boston metro area.

 

Not to mention tens of thousands of dollars for this full-page ad in today’s edition of the Boston Globe.

 

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The small type: “GE and Boston are the perfect combination to usher in a new digital industrial revolution. We’re proud to call the city that never stops making history our new home.”

But, apparently, not proud enough to run its ad in the Boston Herald.

Hey, GEniks: You’re moving to a two-daily town. Show the thirsty local tabloid some love, eh?


Boston 2024: The Grift That Keeps on Giving

June 11, 2015

As you splendid readers well know, the Boston news media – from the Boston Business Journal to WGBH to Boston Magazine to WBUR to the Boston Globe – are on Store 2024 like Brown on Williamson.

But not the Boston Herald.

Sure, the feisty local tabloid has provided some basic coverage of the five-ring monte Olympic bid, but it’s not breaking news the way other local outlets have. The Herald these days is more about Deval Patrick’s financial shenanigans.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Exhibit A: Yesterday’s Joe Battenfeld column.

Patrick Secretly Diverted Junket Cash

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Former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration secretly diverted nearly $27 million in public money to off-budget accounts that paid for a $1.35 million trade junket tab, bloated advertising contracts, and a deal with a federally subsidized tourism venture backed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Herald investigation has found.

The maneuver to fatten the hidden “trust” 

accounts with millions from state quasi-public agencies allowed Patrick to skirt the state Legislature and evade state budget cutbacks during the recession, the Herald found.

 

Elsewhere in the piece, the number seems to be over $37 million. Helpful chart:

 

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Whatever.

Exhibit B: Today’s Herald page 5 (with bonus Inexplicable Green 1).

 

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See? Even the paper’s Olympic coverage is part of its Devalue Pak.

Meanwhile, the latest Boston NOlympics revelations include this in the BBJ, which suggests that those expecting the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to “save the Boston Olympics” Must Be Taking Acid. The Boston Globe contributes this front-page piece about Boston 2024 relocating the Widett Circle food wholesalers to the Seaport (one really smart person we know thinks the entire Boston 2024 effort is just a land grab to develop the New Boston Food Market site). The Globe also features this Metro piece about the full-court press on the Boston 2024 organizers to finally get down to specifics.

WBUR also has a couple of new reports today about bigger Olympic footprints, and WGBH tosses in this piece about new venues and public relations.

But the Boston Herald? Call it the shelfie local tabloid.