The Courier Mail ditches comics – and loses a subscriber

Today was the day. Without warning, and with just a small article jammed into a page that’s full of other things, there was the notice…

Today marks the end of comic strips in our newspapers

That’s it. No warning, no notice, nothing. Just “hey, we’re stopping this so tough luck”.

The reasons given were that readers don’t want to see comic strips, they’d prefer to do puzzles. So the comics were ditched, and they’ve added more puzzles and made a new “easy to read” format for horoscopes and the “20 questions” sections. What they really did was nothing of the sort.

The puzzle page might be “expanded”, but it’s easy to get an AI to generate one more crossword. The new “easy to read” format? Well, that’s making the font size bigger and throwing in a couple of pictures for random questions. As for the horoscopes… they’re just a little bit longer than they were before.

What’s they’ve really done is take 1/2 of a page of content and pad it out to cover a full page to make up for the loss of the area that contained the comics.

The real reason for this is pretty easy to see. Comics cost money to license. With dwindling readership, less money is coming in, so something has to be cut. What’s easy to cut, and we can make up some fancy-sounding justification of it? Hey, comics are costing us money, so lets get rid of that.

For me, the comics were the last remaining reason to buy the physical copy of the paper. Journalistic ability tanked long ago, and the stories are going the same way as the online click-bait outlets. The paper was getting less and less pages, and more and more advertising. These days the weekday paper is 1/4 the size of the weekend paper, and is around 35/40% ads. Not a very compelling reason to pay money for it.

The problem is that it’s not just the Courier Mail. It’s the entire News Corp conglomerate that’s

This article from Ginger Megs says more than I ever could.

Weekend Sunrise: News Corp Kills Entire Aussie Newspaper Comic Strip Industry in a single Day.

So goodbye Courier Mail. Goodbye News Corp. Goodbye to the Australian news companies. As Garfield (my favourite part of the paper, and one of the comic strips that was lost) would say, “I hate Mondays”.

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