December 13, 2008

Detroit papers mull ending home delivery

The company that operates Detroit's two daily newspapers will likely soon cease home delivery on most days, sources say.

Detroit Media Partnership L.P., which operates the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, is considering a likely scenario in which it will cease home delivery of the newspapers on all but its most lucrative days -- Thursday, Friday and Saturday, unnamed sources told Saturday's Wall Street Journal.

Although the source says no final decision has been made, the move is considered the likeliest of several options on the table to deal with plunging weekday circulation. The Free Press, owned by Gannett Co., and the News, owned by MediaNews Group, are operated by Detroit Media under a joint operating agreement.

If Detroit Media made the move, the Free Press and the News would become first dailies in a major metropolitan market to curtail home delivery and drastically scale back their print editions, the Journal said.

Weekday circulation has declined 15 percent at the Free Press and 22 percent at the News during the past five years, Audit Bureau of Circulations figures show.