The Saturday War: One Year Later

It was just over a year ago that the Times Herald abandoned its long standing Saturday evening edition to move to Saturday morning, head on head against the Dallas Morning News. One year later the Saturday Herald has grown considerably, but has yet to overtake the News.

The Saturday morning Herald’s circulation has grown to 259,000, up 26 percent from the old Saturday evening Herald. That’s still a little behind the Saturday News, which has “a circulation in excess of 260,000,” a spokesman for the News said, declining to give a specific figure before an upcoming audit is completed. One reason the Saturday Herald’s circulation has grown so dramatically is the paper’s pricing scheme. A Dallas resident can subscribe to both the Saturday and the Sunday Herald for $1.75 a month, while The News charges the same price for Sunday only.

The Saturday morning Herald has been running about 60 pages lately, up 200 percent from the old Saturday evening Herald, a stepchild printed only hours before the big Sunday paper went to press. The News says it has been running about 90 pages on Saturday, up from 86 a year ago.

The News is making a renewed effort to counter one innovation of the Saturday Herald – Weekend. A year ago the Herald came out with its tabloid guide to weekend activities, which has been running about 28 pages in each Saturday paper. Shortly afterward the News countered with Fare, a Saturday guide to the weekend. Now the News has replaced Fare with Weekend Guide, which is published in the Friday edition of the News. Naturally the News is touting the fact that Weekend Guide comes out one day before the Saturday Herald’s Weekend. Times Herald publisher Tom Johnson admits that coming out on Friday gives a certain advertising advantage to the News, namely that the News can claim its ads sell for three days, not just Saturday and Sunday. But Johnson says the Herald intends to keep publishing Weekend on Saturday, using it as a major promotional device for the Saturday Herald.


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