‘Knoxville News Sentinel’ To Charge for TV Week

By: Joe Strupp

The Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, citing a loss of “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year” announced plans to charge for its TV Week supplement beginning in April.

In a Sunday column, which he later posted again on his blog Monday, Editor Jack McElroy revealed that readers will only be able to receive the Sunday TV Week if they subscribe and pay 25 cents per week to receive it on Saturday.

“Not surprisingly, we’re getting a lot of feedback. What’s surprising, perhaps, is that that feedback is all over the board. Some people like the new section; some hate it. Some say they’ll pay to subscribe; some say they’ll cancel their subscriptions,” McElroy wrote on the blog Monday, a day after the announcement. “Simply put, TV Week has been a big money loser for a long time, and in this day and age, we have to do something about it, or find some other, more painful way to cut costs.”

In the column, McElroy explained that the cost of providing a detailed, print listing of such an expanded array of television and cable programming requires “lots of pages of newsprint. ?The challenge has grown more severe through the years, as channels have proliferated and TV-watchers have come to rely on channel-surfing or on the scrolling guides the cable companies provide.” ?

McElroy made the announcement while also noting that the paper had redesigned the TV Week, saying it “offers more descriptions of movies, color-coded grids and a larger format.” McElroy could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but since posting his column and blog item, he had received 20 posted online comments from readers, both for and against the new TV Week fee.

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