The E.W. Scripps Company, parent company of the Knoxville News Sentinel, reported a loss of $10.1 million for the first quarter of 2011 as compared to a loss of $1.2 million for the same quarter in 2010.

It would have been worse, but their TV station revenues, which increased 3.2% as compared to the same quarter in 2010, are propping up newspapers, which had a 5.7% decline in revenues.

Shortly after reporting their first quarter results, Scripps announced a change in management, saying that "Mark G. Contreras is no longer serving as the senior vice president of its newspaper division." Scripps shut down two newspapers, the Cincinnatti Post and the Rocky Mountain (Denver) News on his watch.

Scripps shares closed at $8.89 on Friday, down from a high of $10.46 in January, with a current market cap of $525.74 million. Their current P/E of 4.7 suggests a possibility of low investor confidence. For comparison, Scripps Networks Interactive is trading at a P/E of 19+.

But wait, there's more.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal, also owned by Scripps, announced on Twitter this week that they are putting the online version of their paper behind a paywall. Subscription will be $9.99 per month or free for subscribers to the print edition. Readers will get ten free clicks per month, and there may be day passes for 99 cents. The Memphis Steves have reaction and commentary here and here.

Will the Knoxville News Sentinel be next?

R. Neal's picture

If they do that I'll probably

If they do that I'll probably stop my print subscription. We pay about $16 per month. About 80% of it is advertising that I never look at.

What you would miss would be some of the syndicated features and extras (Parade, WSJ finance, Motly Fool, etc.), comics, puzzles, Weekend/calendar mag, TV schedules, etc.?

R. Neal's picture

One thing that bugs me about

One thing that bugs me about the KNS website version is that what's featured on the front page of the website is frequently not what's on the front page of the paper.

Many times the front page headline story isn't even on the front page of the website at all.

There's some kind of disconnect between what the print editors think is important v. the website. Jack Lail told me the online version is pretty much independent in that regard, if I recall correctly.

Other stuff gets buried, too, and you end up having to use the search option to find it.

j.f.m.'s picture

Re: front page stuff -- This

Re: front page stuff -- This is true of most newspaper websites. All has to do with daily traffic patterns. Basically, every time someone comes back to your page, you want them to see at least some new content. Among other things, any time there's breaking news, you want that at the top of the site, because people are going to come there looking for it. But then by the time it's actually on the front page the next morning, it's "old" news as far as the website's concerned.

As for the paywall, as a Scripps employee and a print journalist, I hope it's a big success and makes lots of money.

redmondkr's picture

Should KNS avail themselves

Should KNS avail themselves of a paywall, I'll miss the obits. Folks my age tend to check those daily for some reason.

Other than that, it's Adios.

The LaFollette Press recently went this route except some older material is still available for free. For what it's worth I quit linking to Press articles at the Campbell County Children's Center website and will do the same for them.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Yes to paywall

As a daily subscriber to KNS, I would also look forward to their implementing a paywall at their site. It might go a long way toward raising the level of discourse in comments.

B. Paone's picture

You'd think so...

...but it won't. Unless, of course, you consider tumbleweeds dancing among what few comments get posted "raising the level of discourse". Which, I suppose, is a decent argument.

Paywalls don't really work because the information behind said walls can almost always be found - and discussed - elsewhere for free. If the Shed does a paywall, people like me are simply going to take advantage by offering a free news/discussion site. (I've already got one built just waiting for the opportunity. You don't want to know what I'm calling it.)

There's only two ways to make money on the internet, and that's by selling product that isn't offered for free elsewhere or by selling porn. But don't take my word for it. Just ask Hack about's numbers. :-)

reform4's picture

If I can pay $15.00 a month

not to have to read those freaks in the comment section, it's money well spent.

jackdlail's picture

Paywall at

Would be news to me.

E.W. Scripps has plans for various paid content/registration/commenting experiments at different locations. There are plans for testing a lot of other things as well, such as with comments in Ventura. Most of these have not launched. The tests will be evaluated based on the experience (was it successful?) and whether they are appropriate for other locations (what works at a small paper with little local news competition might not work in a more competitive market).

Paid content models or digital subscriptions come in a lot of varieties. Many media companies are trying things from Rupert Murdoch to the New York Times to the Dallas Morning News to small newspapers. Most media companies are testing something.

The Knoxville News Sentinel is doing one paid content experiment: a subscription sports site called in partnership with 247Sports of Brentwood.

Re: knoxnews vs printed paper front page. The best way to get the "printed newspaper experience" online is with our iPad edition. It's a "replica edition" of the printed paper, but we can also add videos and photo galleries to it.

It's a free download ... at least for now.

As for knoxnews, we like to frequently change out our top stories in a "river of news" concept. Many, if not most, of the articles in the printed paper's front page were online earlier and I think you will see us adopt an even more aggressive "web first" approach for articles in coming months.

Hope that helps!

-- jack lail
Knoxville News Sentinel

Somebody's picture

This guy gets it. Thanks for

This guy gets it. Thanks for the link to the link.

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