The entire industry was stunned when WEHCO Media announced they were planning to stop printing their flagship statewide newspaper, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and only deliver it to their subscribers via a paid web/ APP based platform. After many market tests, their final solution to keep their audience was to purchase iPads and offer them to their print subscribers for free. Now more than a year later, the paper publishes just one print product a week, while profiting and retaining more than 70 percent of their audiences and saving hundreds of jobs as well.
E&P publisher Mike Blinder checks in with Walter E. Hussman Jr., WEHCO’s CEO and publisher of the Democrat-Gazette, to see how the project is going and how they have expanded the concept to other WEHCO properties. Hussman also chats about his thoughts on moving newspapers to non-profit status, surviving in a COVID-19 world, and if Facebook and Google should pay for the content they receive from the news publishing industry.