With the Chron on the ropes, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are planning to launch San Francisco editions, the Times reports.
No launch dates were mentioned in the Times story, but the Journal said it is looking at November or December.
The Times didn’t give many details of its proposed SF edition, but it said the Journal would add “a page or two of general-interest news from California, probably once a week, produced by the large staff it already has in the Bay Area.”
The Times report ended with these three grafs:
- Both The Journal and The Times seem to be betting that the Bay Area is the place to try first. Its biggest newspapers, The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Jose Mercury News, have suffered through some of the sharpest downsizing in the industry, and a very high percentage of the region’s residents moved from elsewhere, which usually means less attachment to the local paper.
National newspapers already sell better in the Bay Area than in almost any other part of the country. In the San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland market, The Journal’s weekday circulation (it does not have a Sunday edition) is about 98,000, while circulation of The Times, which charges much more for subscriptions, is about 49,000 on weekdays and 65,000 on Sundays.
“I think the San Francisco area is the most obvious market to try this in, because it’s big, it’s sophisticated and it’s getting progressively more poorly served by its papers,” said Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute. But if the strategy takes off in multiple cities, he said, the national papers should worry that “they’d be seen as administering the final death blows to these metro dailies.”