New Times-Picayune competitor, Baton Rouge Advocate says it now has 10,000 subscribers in New Orleans

WWL | Nieman Journalism Lab
New subscribers to the Baton Rouge Advocate’s New Orleans edition are reporting problems with receiving their papers. “I really think they weren’t prepared for the amount of subscribers that they got,” subscriber Loretta Hamilton told WWL reporter Paul Murphy. Advocate New Orleans bureau chief Sara Pagones tells Murphy, “We’ve doubled our call center capacity.”

“I think the waits are shorter than they were. I think that we had really felt we could get 10,000 subscribers. I don’t think we anticipated getting 10,000 by today, which we have.”

At a launch party for its New Orleans edition on Sept. 24, Advocate publisher David Manship told Gambit Weekly’s Kevin Allman the Advocate had 2,000 subscribers and that he hoped to get to 20,000. Before the push south, the Advocate sold about 400 copies per day in New Orleans, Kevin McGill reported on Sept. 28.

The Advocate announced its daily New Orleans edition after Advance’s New Orleans Times-Picayune decided to go to three print days per week. In a piece about the economics of that decision, media analyst Ken Doctor said while the Advocate “won’t impress anyone as a New Orleans substitute, it further nibbles around the T-P’s increasingly tattered edges.”

“I say bring them on,” chairman Steven Newhouse said when I asked him about competitors this past August. “Competition is great. We’re not afraid at all. We’re gonna have a really fantastic website and great print editions, and we’ll let the readers decide.”

The Times-Picayune announced late last month that it would open a 16-person bureau in Baton Rouge to produce a customized print edition and website for that market. The company signed a long-term lease there last week.

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