Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Coffee, Wine and Cruises: How Newspapers Are Trying to Boost Revenue

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Coffee, Wine and Cruises: How Newspapers Are Trying to Boost Revenue

Article excerpt

Newspapers peddle coffee, wine as revenues slip


TORONTO - Newspapers crippled by declining advertising are increasingly turning to less traditional sources of revenue, such as hosting coffee and wine clubs, in an effort to boost profits.

The latest twist was unveiled this week, when the Toronto Star announced the launch of Headline Coffee, which delivers a new bag of ethically sourced coffee beans from different countries. The coffee delivery service costs $20 a month and is not limited to Star subscribers.

"The newspaper business is going through a pretty turbulent time and people are throwing a lot of jelly at the wall, trying to see what sticks," said Paul Knox, a professor emeritus at Ryerson University's school of journalism in Toronto.

The Canadian newspaper industry has had one of its most bruising years in recent memory.

Last week, the Globe and Mail asked for about 40 of its employees to volunteer for buyouts. About a month prior to that, Torstar announced it was laying off more than 50 people, most of whom from the Toronto Star newsroom.

In January, Postmedia cut 90 jobs and merged newsrooms in four cities.

Julie Murtha, the Toronto Star's director of audience development and innovation, said it's premature to say how much Headline Coffee will contribute to TorStar's profits, but it is expected to do so.

"We thought it's an interesting way to extend the products and services that we can offer to consumers," said Murtha.

Several publications operate similar subscription services. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both host wine clubs that ship curated bottles of vino to customers as frequently as once a month.

The Times also partnered with Chef'd this summer to sell meal kits filled with ingredients to make recipes from its cooking section. Customers can, for example, pay US$59 for a kit to make four servings of beef bourguignon by lead Times Magazine food writer Mark Bittman.

Other Canadian publications are testing different ways to find extra revenue. …

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