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Looming Duopoly? WSJ and NYT Train Sites on Bay Area Market

San FranciscoIn hopes to win new readers and advertisers and start a new regional market by offering more local news, both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are planning San Francisco Bay Area editions. The NY Times reports that the new strategy could be the first glimpse at a new strategy by national newspapers to capitalize on the contraction of regional papers.

Given that local newspapers are bleeding red ink and fighting for survival, the market appears to be a prime target for national outlets. The NY Times reports:

Over the last few years, newspapers around the country, bleeding circulation and advertising, have sharply reduced their news staffs and the amount of original content they offer, typically cutting back on national, foreign, business and arts news while trying to preserve local coverage. That may create an opening for national papers to exploit, with a marketing campaign to attract new subscribers for a regional edition, and regional advertisers who would not be interested in a nationwide buy.

Both The Journal and The Times seem to be betting that the Bay Area is the place to try first. Its biggest newspapers, The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Jose Mercury News, have suffered through some of the sharpest downsizing in the industry, and a very high percentage of the region’s residents moved from elsewhere, which usually means less attachment to the local paper.

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