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BRIEFS.

*Assessing Detroit 3-day delivery: An assessment this weekend by The Associated Press indicates that the program of home delivery of the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News only on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays is a qualified success, with acceptable losses in circulation and "millions" saved in reduced production costs. "We have accomplished most of what we set out to do," Susie Ellwood, chief executive of the Detroit Media Partnership, the joint operating agreement that manages the business side of the two newspapers for their owners Gannett Co. Inc. and MediaNews Group Inc., told The A.P. The papers cut back home delivery to their three most profitable days in March 2009 and while circulation declined 12 percent, to 401,889, for the six months ending March 31, 2010, the drop off wasn't nearly as bad as at some metro dailies that continue to home-deliver seven days a week. Further, the papers say that "more than 90 percent" of their advertisers continue to buy space. The wire service's assessment of the Detroit newspaper situation emphasizes that whatever success it may have had probably stems directly from the economic hard times that have befallen a city so intrinsically tied to the distressed automotive industry.

*Papermaker pays local tax bills: Newsprint maker Catalyst Paper Corp., based in suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, said last week that it had paid in full three of the four municipalities it had been fighting over local tax bills and had partially paid the fourth local government. Catalyst has spent more than a year in Canadian courts, arguing that the four cities' tax bills were unfair and unsustainable; it lost all the cases in April. The company has decided to drop the appeals against the cities of Powell River, which it paid $C3 million ($US2.8 million), Campbell River, which got $C4.8 million ($US4-1/2 million) and Port Alberni, which received $C5.2 million ($US4.9 million). Catalyst paid the city of North Cowichan $C1-1/2 million ($US1.4 million) of the $C6-1/2 million ($US6.1 million) owed and is appealing that city's case. Catalyst and Powell River cut an agreement in April that the manufacturer's tax bill won't exceed $C2.3 million ($US2.2 million) for the next five years. Catalyst contrasted its British Columbia tax bills by revealing it will pay $C747,000 ($US698,000) in taxes on its U.S. plant in Snowflake, Ariz., in 2010.

*NewsStand parent buys software: LibreDigital Inc., the Austin, Texas-based parent company of digital newspaper delivery company NewsStand, said last week it had purchased the Symtio e-commerce platform from a division of one of its investors, HaperCollins Publishers Inc. Symtio has been under development for two years in Chicago by evangelical book publisher Zondervan, which is based in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the 15 employees working on the project will go to work for LibreDigital. LibreDigital, whose other investors include The New York Times Co., has in recent months picked up a great deal of momentum in the e-book field, with agreements with Apple Inc., Sony Corp. and Plastic Logic to provide software technology. The company, which was founded in 1999 as NewsStand Inc. and changed its name in 2008, closed its third round of venture-capital funding in May with $8.1 million that came from existing investors Adams Capital Management of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Triangle Peak Partners of Carmel, Calif. and Houston, Texas.

*McClatchy aligns with shopping site: Groupon.com, a shopping web site that provides visitors with a locally based daily deal on merchandise and services, said last week that it had signed an agreement with The McClatchy Co. to provide McClatchy's 30 daily newspapers with exclusive deals crafted for the papers' local markets. The companies said that the program would launch first in McClatchy's Sacramento Bee and Kansas City Star markets "with other sites following over the next few months." "Providing merchants with major alternative channels to run deals is vital," said Sean Smyth, Groupon's veep of business development. "McClatchy is an ideal partnership that blends our respective strengths to provide consumers with unbeatable savings on great experiences in their local markets." Groupon, based in Chicago, launched in 2008 and says it has "saved subscribers more than $285 million."
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Publication:NewsInc
Date:Jul 5, 2010
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