May 21, 2007

My Web Lifestyle Tipping Point

Our last hold out from fully converting to the web lifestyle has been the Sunday New York Times. We get everything else via the web. But we always thought that the experience of reading the the paper version of the Sunday New York Times could never be replicated online.

Oh sure, we tried. We found that reading the paper in bed, or on a couch with a notebook computer was hard to manage. It's the provisioning of power adapter, and accompanying heat generated by the computer that makes it less than comfortable...even on a cold Canadian winter morning!

That's changed. About 2 months ago we moved from Toronto, Canada's largest city (
population of 4,682,897) to Atlantic Canada. Halifax, Nova Scotia to be specific. In case you're wondering, Halifax's population is 370,000. Our new hometown has roughly 8% of the people that Toronto has.
This fact translates into less restaurants, fewer dentists, etc.. But the upside is that driving commutes are way shorter. Whereas I commuted a minimum of one hour to and from work in Toronto, here in Halifax it's 25 minutes each way. Plus since we're near the ocean the air is fresher.

However, this smaller market is not on the radar of certain companies and certain products. For example the Sunday New York Times. I had thought that it was available daily in every part of Canada and in traditional print form. It turns out that I was lucky in Toronto, its actually printed in the city. In other locales it's flown in. Or trucked in, as done in Vancouver, BC (on the other side of the country.)

In Toronto I could get the NY Times at a local store and be reading it in in bed by 7:30AM on a Sunday morning. Its not quite the same thing as reading the local edition in bed in Manhattan but close enough. But its not so in Halifax. You would think that it would be reversed given that Halifax is geographically closer to New York City.

My logic that paper was more effective than electronic media changed thanks to my newly appropriated city. The NY Times thinks that Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada with its 370,000 people, many Universities, highest per capita income levels east of Montreal isn't good enough. The paper does not officially distribute to retailers in this city.

That not completely true. You can get it at
Atlantic News (very cool magazine store...better than most in Toronto.) They worked a deal with a Boston NY Times seller and have it sent to Halifax at their own expense. But it gets here 24 hours after it's first printed...in the evening. Kind of takes away the morning aspect of the the experience.

So then we realized that the expedience wasn't so much about getting the news according to the New York Times. It wasn't the "steak"...it was the "sizzle". We adapted and substituted the "steak."

We let the last domino of the traditional media fall in my household. Will we stop reading the NY Times? If we do it will be via their website....even if the NY Times wakes up and changes their policy in Halifax.

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