Who needs a newspaper to answer that question?
In the age of cable and satellite TV, few people actually need the newspaper's guide to decide what to watch on a day-to-day basis. They look to the newspaper for stories about TV, TV celebrity gossip, occasional reviews and news of trends in television entertainment. In addition to print, we provide a TV blog that includes short reviews, news and gossip tidbits and a forum to discuss TV shows.
But a significant number of people want their daily newspaper to provide a generous listing describing what's on the tube and at what time they need to be on the sofa. Some really want it. In fact, they demand it.
We knew this to be true even as we made the difficult decision to sharply reduce the one-page guide that we had printed six days a week for several years.
In recent years, TV viewing habits have changed drastically. Many people rarely watch a TV show when it is scheduled to air. They rely on DVR devices with generous capacity to record hours of programs. They can program the DVR to record all episodes of their favorite shows to view at their leisure. Some watch their favorite shows on their computer screens. Others have digital cable and satellite services with elaborate on-screen guides that can be sorted not only by time and channel but by genre.
Even people with basic cable have a TV guide channel. I've been hearing from cable subscribers who emphatically state that they know that they can get guide information from the TV screen, but they just don't want to. They want to lay out the paper and plan their viewing day.
Traditionally, the general interest newspaper has provided a wide variety of informaton. However, with revenue declining, we cannot continue to absorb the high costs of content that is not essential to our core mission of providing in-depth local news, and for which the audience is shrinking.
We now provide by subscription only a weekly guide to readers who get the paper at home and we have reduced the daily guide a quarter page.
In choosing the channels for the reduced guide, we gave priority to the local channels and listed what we had indications were the most popular basic cable channels.
Many of you are unhappy. We hear you and appreciate the depth of your disappointment at having something you personally valued taken away.
We cannot restore the full-page guide. Reducing the size of the type to include a lot more channels will hurt readabilty.
However, we are re-evaluating the mix of channels we offer. We may eliminate a few channels with content similiar to other channels on the list in order to add channels with a different type of content. We may be able to make a small adjustment in the type size to increase the number of channels to 30, from the current 29 channels.
Thanks for your responses.