According to UK media gossip site Popbitch.com, for every five per cent of broadband growth, newspaper circulation drops one per cent. Is it any wonder Toronto's dailies are freaked?
I used to think it necessary to buy all four every day, not so much to track current events, but to keep up with what my journalistic colleagues were nattering on about. I ditched that plan three years ago when I discover that everything I want to read - The Globe's Christie Blatchford on her many dead dogs, The Star's Rosie DiManno on gal pal Christie Blatchford's many dead dogs, Conrad Black's hilariously loquacious pre-trial editorials in The Post, the comics - are available online for free. Of course, that doesn't stop me from religiously buying all of their weekend editions, if only for the weekly TV magazines.
I gave up on the Sun's TV listings years ago once they were replaced with a description-free prime time grid. The Post's listings - more grids - have been inferior from the get-go, and The Globe pulled the plug on their Saturday TV rag months ago after changing it exclusively to grids, moving it to Friday's paper. The only hold-out was The Star's StarWeek TV guide, but as of two weeks ago, it too has gone the way of the abbreviated grid.
Here's two typical new format Toronto Star TV listings.
9:30 pm Tuesday on MuchMusic: "Diff Wrld"
7:30 pm Thursday on Comedy: "Bet"
That's 80s sit-com Different World and laughable game show You Bet Your Ass, if you're guessing. Obviously, these short-hand listings take up less space, which means less paper and more bottom-line profit. I suppose we should be applauding the corporate saving of trees.
But there's a much better way for TV fiends to save the planet. Zap2it.com offers TV listings complete with descriptions: who's on Saturday Night Live, which episode of CSI Miami is being rerun, what team's playing AC Milan on TeleLatino. Sure, like everyone else, they list them in a grid, but it's easily customized so that the channels you watch regularly - Spike, Speed, Fox, Golf, the movie nets, say - are listed first. Not only that, but you can check out what's on the tube next week, as well. None of the dailies - not even the bible of television listings TV Guide - does that.
Since my computer and TV are in the same room, I keep Zap2it.com on my Mac's desktop for easy reference. Bonus: thanks to Torstar's parsimonious bean-counters, I now save $80 a year by no longer buying their Saturday paper.