February 19th, 2013
Shrinking Newspaper

It had been rumored for months, but is now official:  In an effort to further cut costs the Kansas City Star will shrink in size.

While that might not seem like “Stop the Presses” news to most readers, the McClatchy-owned newspaper will be able to save considerably on printing costs by moving to smaller pages.

According to a memo sent to advertisers (below, click twice to expand) the transition will occur from March 22 through April 21. The new dimensions are outlined in the memo.

The paper will now be identical in size to USA Today, but considerably smaller than it was even five or ten years ago. Other publications printed at the Star such as The Pitch and Kansas City Sports & Fitness will also shrink in size by approximately an inch on top.

The news is important to advertisers and ad agencies.

The change will mean clients’ ads will now have to be re-formatted to meet the smaller dimensions and that means additional costs for all involved.

“As an advertiser I don’t like the size decrease, but what can you do?” says David K. Miller of the Something Different Media Group, an ad agency based in Olathe. ”We will continue to use it as a vehicle to market our products and services. We have had great success using the Kansas City Star.”

Miller does admit the response by the public isn’t what it used to be with advertising in the Star.

“Circulation of the Star has been declining and the response isn’t what it used to be,” he says. “I’m afraid this new size will cause more folks to cancel, which affects my bottom line.  I hope it’s embraced by the readers, but change is not something most readers will ever embrace.

“As a reader, I personally was dissatisfied a few months ago when they made the decision to start charging for the iPad e-edition, which is an exact replica of the paper.”

Another media insider is not pleased with the direction the Star has taken lately, namely charging more for less.

“The Star came out with this new plan for the e-edition that will charge you a weekly extra fee for the privilege of having it,” he says. “That pushed me a little over the edge.

“The Star has been giving less and asking for more,” he adds. “So for most subscribers they took away services from existing subscribers. The iPad edition was an added benefit, but that is gone unless you pay more.

“This is not the time to be charging more and taking away added benefits.”

8 Responses

  1. Biff Nelson says:

    Where’d you get that “inch from the top” stuff at?
    Totally untrue. You cannot change cutoffs without spending major money on new folders.
    It’s all side to side. the width is going down from 48″ to 44″ divide by 4 and you go from a 12″ wide page to a 11″ wide page.
    If you’ve been reading your Kansas City Star than you’ve already noticed some smaller pages in the classified section in the last 2 days.
    Going down 4 inches involves major, major mechanical work. It’s not as simple as that flyer from an advertiser would suggest. That’s the easy part.
    Btw, the Star did the same thing 5 years ago when they went from 50″ to 48″.
    It’s not that big of a deal. The WSJ and the TCJ will be going smaller too.

  2. Vuckda Star says:

    Meaningless to those like myself who cancelled that rag-full-of-lies years ago.
    So KC will have a one-inch smaller Socialist propaganda fishwrap. BFD!

  3. Doug says:

    How much smaller can the Star get? Monday morning with the wind blowing my paper had blown half way down my street. I once called Mark Zieman and told him they needed to add something to the Monday paper — rocks so it would not blow away. He wasn’t amused.

  4. Mike says:

    So the ad guy doesn’t like what will happen for his clients, but he and the clients “have had great success with the Star”. Really? You also say fewer people are reading the paper. So you’re going to spend your client’s money on something that fewer (and fewer) people are accessing???
    You may have heard of social media. LOTS of people read that. It’s on a thing called a computer. You might want to turn away from the Selectric II and check it out.

  5. Rick Nichols says:

    Unfortunately, far too many people view The Star as if it were simply toilet paper material (I refer to the photo above) and eagerly long for the day when the paper is of a comparable size. But a shrinking Star is not necessarily a lesser Star. It will depend on how efficiently the space available for the “news hole” is used by those who valiantly carry on down at 18th & Grand. Of course, I realize that those of you who readily worship at the altar of the new social media really don’t give a rat’s rump about that.

  6. Rich says:

    If newspapers could only get back to the days when their page sizes were similar, it would make advertisers happier. And, possibly that’s what dailies are doing. 1984 ushered in the Standard Advertising Unit, a one-size-fits-most-all column width that simplified print ad design. Oh, by the way, newspaper advertising does work! Social media is here. But, God help us if newspapers go away.
    Personally, I prefer a Fourth Estate that keeps an eye on the three branches of government, that provides analysis of issues, that keeps readers apprised of school board, city council or zoning issues, for instance, that affect them. Blog or twit that! I don’t think so.

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