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Palm Coast Friday, Apr. 3, 2020 4 months ago

Online readership soars, print advertising struggles

Print circulation to be reduced.
by: John Walsh Publisher

I love this job, but I hate this business model.

Picture if you will, the imbalanced scales of justice for a free community newspaper. The left side of the scale is weighed down to the bottom, representing that our sole source of revenue is advertising from local business. They pay for our entire operation. The right side of the scale is lifted all the way up to the top, representing our readers, who enjoy the printed pages for free, funded by those advertisers.

The value proposition to our advertisers is our ability to deliver their advertising messages to our readers — our faithful readers who since 2010 in Palm Coast and 2012 in Ormond Beach go to the end of their driveways or visit a local newsstand every Thursday and pick up the latest free edition of the Observer newspaper. Based on consistent feedback for over a decade, our readers love the free award-winning editorial content produced by our team of journalists and staff. Every week we produce news stories. Every week we print and deliver newspapers to you, our loyal readers. All from the financial support of our local businesses advertising. You will never hear me say we are in an emerging market, but under normal operating conditions we are successful.

Key words: under normal operating conditions.

We are not under normal operating conditions.

Demand for our editorial coverage of local news and information is up.

Way up.

Traffic on our web sites has almost doubled in the last three weeks. We can not keep up with the refill rate of our newsstands. But while demand from our readers is up, advertising revenue is down.

Way down.

Our advertising revenue is a reaction to the local economy. Everyone reading our paper today has been affected by current economic conditions. Including our local business community.

We remain committed to our mission: to inspire our communities with extraordinary local content (including information about COVID-19) and help our partners prosper! But how we do that will change temporarily.

In addition to posting our stories daily on and, we will begin publishing a daily email blast with our top stories. Access to our digital platforms will remain free, at this time.

Sign up for our emails by visiting the websites and signing up by using the pop-up that appears.

Starting Thursday, April 9, we will be reducing the number of printed editions. We will also be shifting some of our distribution from driveway to more newsstands throughout the community to make it easier to find if your driveway delivery is suspended.

We will be asking advertisers to allocate more advertising budgets to our online newspapers. We will extend discounts to the advertisers who have provided us with the opportunity to produce and deliver the Observer newspapers.

We are committed to resuming full operations in print as we return to normal operating conditions. Sooner would be better than later!

Advertisers, thank you for your continued advertising support! Readers, thank you for loving the Observer!


John F. X. Walsh

Palm Coast Observer

Ormond Beach Observer

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