Alternatives for subscribers who didn’t get their O.C. Register

Old News by Doug Wheller licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Old News by Doug Wheller licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thousands of Orange County Register subscribers haven’t received their newspapers for the past few days (stories by the L.A. Times, O.C. Weekly and O.C. Register), so I thought it would be helpful to list some other ways those customers can get the news they’ve been missing.

The most obvious solution is to use the internet. People could visit the Register’s web site. They could go to Google and search for Orange County news. They can be more specific and query the search engine for news in their particular city.

For those married to the print medium, the Register has said that (paying) subscribers can visit the office in Santa Ana to pick up a “free” copy of the paper. People can also visit their local convenience store or hunt down a rare newspaper vending machine and purchase a copy of the Register or a competing publication.

Unfortunately, none of my suggestions are good ones.

Visit the Register’s Facebook page, or search Twitter for mentions of @ocregister.  Customers have been using social media to complain about the problem. So-called “print customers” obviously know how to use the internet and social media. They know how to find the Register on Twitter. They know how to find the Register on Facebook. It’s safe to assume they know how to visit the Register website and read the news there.

The vocal print subscribers who use social media to complain about distribution problems don’t seem interested in a digital solution. Post after post makes it clear. They want what they signed up for, a newspaper delivered to their doorstep.

If there’s one thing this delivery debacle has taught us, it is this: there is a real demand for newspapers, even among people who use the internet and social media.

What’s the lesson?

So, if for some news consumers there is no substitute for printed news, what should the Register and other newspaper organizations take away as a lesson from this experience? I want to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment below or strike up a conversation on Twitter, where you can find me @ksablan.

2 thoughts on “Alternatives for subscribers who didn’t get their O.C. Register

  1. Hi Kevin- it might be too simplistic to say that there is a “real demand for newspapers, even among people who use the Internet and social media.”

    The question I would be asking here is why is the backlash so intense.

    There are a couple of variables in the equation you should consider:

    1) Saturday and Sunday are the highest readership and circulation days of the week. This is when people have the most time to read. And this is when the paper has coupons and when advertisers promote deals. The Sunday paper is easily the most valuable paper. Would the backlash be as intense if subscribers missed the Monday or Tuesday paper?

    2) How much of this backlash is because OCR charges a massive premium for its product? People are paying a lot to have the paper delivered. Would the backlash be as intense if the value of the register was based on a .25 cents a day rate?

    My two cents

    • David, thanks for stopping by! You bring up two very important questions. There are so many variables that have gotten legacy news organizations into the dilemma that they face now, and I have to wonder if the solution is much more simple than our minds can fathom.

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