Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The American-Statesman Becomes Even More Irrelevant

It's fairly well known that newspaper readership is declining. So, if you are the Austin American-Statesman, what do you do? Apparently, you remove one of the last reasons to subscribe. Though their website has no mention of it (that I could find), Sunday's issue of Show World (their TV section) was its last.

Honestly, Show World was one of the last things the Statesman had going for it, as it was by far the most convenient way to get program listings for those of us without an interactive program guide. TV Guide was no competition, what with its having discarded local listings a few years ago.

The announcement that Show World was going away offered several "convenient" other options to get TV listings, which I will list in the order of helpfulness, from most to least:
  • "Evening listings will be available every day in Life & Arts." Great. What if I want to know what's on at 5:00?
  • Online: You can customize your listings at http://austin360.com/tvlistings. That would be convenient if my computer were anywhere near my television. But it's not. (Sure, you can print them out, but now they've shifted the cost of printing the listings to you.)
  • E-Mail: They'll send you a link to the listings. See previous item.
  • Phone: Like I'm going to call the Inside Line and listen for four minutes just to find out Fox 7 is showing American Idol again.
  • Fax: Yes, you can have listings faxed to you. Like all your junk faxes don't use up your ribbon fast enough. No thanks.
With the departure of Show World, I can now get pretty much everything the Statesman offers elsewhere:
  • Comics: here or here (with the bonus of old Bloom County strips)
  • Sports: virtually anywhere
  • Recipes: not that I'm looking, but lots of places
  • Voter's Guides: picked one up at the library Saturday.
  • Coupons: I might miss a few, I suppose, but most of what is in the Sunday inserts is for products we don't use anyway.
  • Way-too-politically-slanted cartoons: the Austin Chronicle, of course.
  • Way-too-politically-slanted opinions: again, the Chronicle, most notably Louis Black's regularly-appearing column, "All Republicans Are Evil and Want to Eat Your Children".
So, I'm really not sure what the point is of continuing to subscribe to the Statesman. And, as an added bonus, maybe I'll watch less TV.

Update 2/25/09: Oh, look, the Statesman brought it back. Kinda.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree. I wrote to the editor of Show World, explaining in terms that a 3-year-old could understand, that their argument for discontinuing the TV listings applies to all the other sections of their paper as well...so why don't they just close up shop? I subscribe on a yearly basis, and have been a subscriber for around 30 years, but, like you, this may be my last year. They've convinced me: it's not worth the money, when there are so many other more modern "formats" for the delivery of content. I'll use the money I save to buy TV Guide, so I can continue to make conscious choices about TV viewing on a weekly basis.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with both you. I have only lived in Austin for 4 1/2years, but I have been a regular subscriber to the paper since day one. I have the Sunday Only subscription for two reasons. The first is the TV Guide and the second is for the weekly coupons and adds. I almost missed the notice on the back page and boy was I mad when I read it. What were they thinking?

Snowed In said...

Maybe your costs are different, but the last time I checked, the Sunday-only subscription would have cost more than going to the store and paying $1.60 every Sunday for a paper. You might want to check.

Anonymous said...

So what is the solution ? I could read the Show World TV listings in a few minutes, highlight the programs I wanted to watch/tape during the week and that was that. I tried downloading from the online version of Show World, and got pages of totally irrelevant stuff. Is there a solution other than TV Guide ?

Anonymous said...

So what is the solution ? I could read the Show World TV listings in a few minutes, highlight the programs I wanted to watch/tape during the week and that was that. I tried downloading from the online version of Show World, and got pages of totally irrelevant stuff. Is there a solution other than TV Guide ?

Anonymous said...

Good discussion here! My solution was to hit them where it hurts. I have a yearly subscription, so I called and complained that when I subscribed it was to a paper that would include a weekly TV guide. They gave me 2 weeks credit. Not what I wanted, but better than nothing. Now, if everyone would just call and get the same credit that is due to him/her, that would hurt the Statesman's bottom line and send a real message.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only person who is fuming over the discontinuance of Show World. I wrote to The Statesman when I read it on the back page a couple of weeks ago. I didn't hear one word back from them. I already told my husband that we should consider going off automatic payment and then possibly not renewing our subscription. I tried to access the TV listings for the next week earlier today and after waiting many minutes nothing appeared on my monitor. I was able to get this info last week but not now. Can anyone suggest another way to get local TV listings? I tried TV Guide but it wasn't helpful. I'm a dinosaur (or just too frugal) in as much as I don't "DVR" programs, I still tape them. We're going away for spring break and I'm at a loss. I can watch some of my favorite shows on-line when we return but NBC doesn't offer full episodes just a few minutes to give you the gist of the program. Once again, any ideas? Bad Statesman, what were you thinking?

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was a cost cutting measure for them, but it was dumb on their part. They will definetely lose customers, such as myself. So now I can look forward to saving a buck and some change every Sunday.

The idea of printing it out is also dumb. Long before the printing is finished, you can already see what's on by looking at the screen, assuming you're on-line to begin with. Plus, I only have basic cable, so I don't need a full printed listing of some 30 pages that only shows two hours of programming. Imagine what you'd print for a whole day or week... no thanks. Save those trees.

Another online site has a slightly better list format than the 360 page, for those interested. http://www.meevee.com/

Anonymous said...

I missed the "announcement" in the last show world. I was going to complain that they had left it out of my paper again, until I found this message board. That's pretty crappy that they hid this little tidbit on the back page and that that was the only time it was mentioned. My yearly subscription will be up pretty soon and given the fact that the subscription prices keep getting higher and higher all the time and now they are deleting key parts of the paper to save THEM money.....I'm gonna save myself a whole lot of money by NOT renewing for the next year.

Anonymous said...

I am so angry at the Austin American Statesman!
The local stores where I live have had thousands of complaints from people who come in on Sundays just to get the Show World.
I have called and talked with several people at the AAS. I even talked with one of the editors, who was very rude! HE said they did a survey before doing this.
I never got it. He said people didn't really want the tv section.
Who did he survey? Not any of us!
I'm done with the paper too!
This is one of the most stupid things that they have ever done!

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