We get the Orange County Register delivered every morning. Actually, that’s wrong. More on that in a minute. We’re OC Register subscribers.
I like getting a newspaper. Scanning printed pages is different than reading news on the net. There’s a different serendipity at work allowing you to stumble upon news more easily.
Some stories are days old by the time they’re on my doorstep. I can put up with that because many stories are exclusive to the Register. No one else covers OC as thoroughly. On a good day Los Angeles TV will have one, maybe two, stories from this county of three million.
Within the last year the Register has expanded to Long Beach, Riverside and (gulp) Los Angeles. I was thrilled, thinking the Register’s owners had found a way to resurrect print.
Then the sky fell in.
The Los Angeles Register didn’t last a year. The OC Register is selling their headquarters building in Santa Ana and laying off staff. And now they’re having trouble delivering the paper.
Strange as it sounds the OC Register that comes to my door is delivered by the LA Times. At least it was until last week.
Reports say the Register owes the Times over $3 million.
In April 2013, OCR first missed a payment deadline under its agreement with The Times.
By February 2014, the outstanding amount past due had grown to almost $2 million and, by mid-May, the past due amount was more than $2.5 million.
In late May, OCR agreed to a payment plan with The Times whereby OCR would pay down past due amounts.
In June, OCR made one payment on the plan. Since then, it has made no further payments on the plan. – LA Times news release
This past Sunday the Register started delivering the paper themselves and the results have been comically tragic.
For the tl;dr crowd: over 30,000 calls complaining, many canceled subscriptions already, and no end in sight for the problems. Enjoy! – OCWeekly
30,000 called. Many didn’t. 30k is a big number for a paper with around 150,000 daily subscribers and double that Sunday.
We had no paper Monday, a paper yesterday and none again today. There’s nothing that will cause cancelled subscriptions faster than missing papers.
Newspapers are fighting for their lives, but the survival rate is poor. Readers are old. Subscriber counts are falling. The Internet has cleaned their clock.
In the past I’ve written about how the Register is full of news. I will miss that greatly should the paper fail. At this moment, I suspect it will.