Goodbye, StarP.M., hello mobile

The Toronto Star is stopping the presses on its daily downloadable afternoon edition - but launching a new mobile service.

StarP.M., the first downloadable PDF daily newspaper in North America, will publish its final edition next week, scarcely a year after bowing in. Toronto Star editor-in-chief Fred Kuntz announced the surprising decision to subscribers yesterday.

‘Time moves on, technology advances and new, improved products replace old ones,’ Kuntz explained. He added that StarP.M. will be ‘replaced by two more powerful products, offering greater flexibility, interactivity and value’: the new service, and improvements to website.

Kunz stated that will carry ‘the best of, with full-length versions of our top stories, formatted for small screens.’ No subscription is required for the mobile service.

He cited upcoming improvements to the newspaper’s main website, including: enhanced photo galleries, videos, podcasts, opinion polls and public opinion forums, plus the addition of Sudoku puzzles, and the daily On the Town events lists formerly published in StarP.M.

The Star‘s decision to axe its downloadable afternoon edition is ‘disappointing but not surprising,’ Brian Wylie, VP/group account director at Toronto-based PHD Canada, tells MiC. ‘It’s disappointing because we’re looking for opportunities to reach our targets when they’re making dinner or shopping decisions. This was a good venue for being able to do that because of the time of day it came out.

‘But I don’t think the numbers were maintaining the way we would have liked to see them, so I’m not really surprised by this decision,’ Wylie adds. ‘And that the paper is going to a mobile service is definitely of interest (to media buyers) because it fulfills the objective of being able to reach people at key times of the day.’