Incoming OC Register Publisher Envisions Paywall, Increased Print Circulation

We give freshly minted Orange County Register publisher Aaron Kushner full points for the way he has so far handled the communication aspects of the job. The day after his company 2100 Trust LLC took official ownership of the paper July 25, he held an employee town hall meeting. The following week, he sat down with reporter Mary Ann Milbourn for an extensive interview.

Two of the most interesting takeaways are: 1) He expects readers of the Register to “ultimately” have to pay to access the paper online, though Kushner is not yet sure exactly when and how; 2) He feels his Sunday subscribers are the ones who can best be leveraged for an increase in overall print circulation:

The idea, he said, is to get Sunday-only subscribers to buy a weekend subscription and those buying the paper’s weekend package to pay for additional days and for them ultimately to be converted to seven days a week…

He’s interested in beefing up the print edition and satisfying and adding to the nearly 163,000 subscribers who pay for the newspaper daily and the 287,000 on Sunday. (Total circulation including digital and the Register’s weekly and other branded editions was 280,812 daily and 385,283 Sundays for the six months ended March 31, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.)

Kushner indicated he does not foresee the need for any layoffs, but rather – thanks to robust financing – plans to add to the paper’s staff ranks to help power that aforementioned “beefing up.” Although he is still unsure about relocating from Massachusetts, his second-in-command Eric Spitz will be moving to the OC to oversee newspaper operations.

[Photo of Kushner: Rose Palmisano/Orange County Register]

Previously on FishbowlLA:
OC Register Owner Sold to 2100 Trust LLC