Monday, 5 May 2008

TV guide-less

Winnipeg Sun readers who paid for their Sunday papers at outlets and corner boxes soon discovered the television guide was missing.

The guide has been axed for all but home delivery and online subscribers and that's the rub for readers who buy the Sunday Sun at stores and boxes primarily for the TV guide.

After paying for the paper, they read about the reason for the lack of a TV guide.

"If you picked up today's Winnipeg Sun at a store or from a vending box, you might be wondering what happened to the weekly TV listings which normally come with the newspaper," says the story.

"As part of our initiative to reduce the price of the Sunday Sun, from $1.25 to just a dollar, we have eliminated the weekly TV guide from all papers, with the exception of those delivered to subscribers," it continues.

"In speaking with readers over the past few years, we found the vast majority of single-copy buyers didn't use the weekly TV listings. So rather than watching all that newsprint go to waste, we decided to make the TV guide available only to subscribers. In the process, we were able to reduce the price by 20%.

"Of course, we know there are some readers who pick up the Sunday Sun in order to get the weekly TV listings. For those readers, we offer a number of subscription options, ranging from seven-days-a-week, to Sunday-only, to our new e-edition, all of which carry the weekly listings.

"To learn more about our subscription options, or to give us your feedback, just call 632-6506."

We don't buy that "vast majority of single-copy buyers didn't use the weekly TV listings" explanation. Why guides only for home delivery subscribers? What has subscribing and not subscribing got to do with providing a reader service?

Weekend TV guides in newspapers appear to be on the endangered species list. In Toronto, the Sunday Sun and Saturday Star television guides are looking lean and anemic.

Do it right, or don't do it at all.

The Globe and Mail is the only Toronto newspaper catering to couch potatoes, who want more in their newspaper guides than listings, a token story and a crossword puzzle.

The Globe's Friday TV/films combo section is full of stories, reviews, capsule comments etc.

But that's the Globe for you - it's just doing what it can to keep the customers satisfied.

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