Customers of the Times are not taking well to some of the paper's recent cost-saving steps. The latest Reader's Representative report to the staff says that trims in the TV Times listings, removing movie times from Thursday's Weekend Calendar section and deleting some stocks from the Sunday tables generated complaints:
Reader response to recent cuts
Starting Jan. 2, cuts have been made to TV Times, movie showtimes in Calendar Weekend and the Sunday Business listings to save newsprint. An overview of reader reaction as of Friday, Jan. 14:
TV TIMES 347 readers complaints
Nearly all who have contacted us ask that late-night listings be restored (programming between midnight and 7 a.m.). (Other changes: The TV highlights and cover story were combined into a two-page spread, and the week's daily prime-time listings went from 17 1/2 pages to 14 pages.)
CALENDAR/WEEKEND 124 complaints
Sample comment: "I wish The Times still ran movie times every day, but dropping them altogether is a total disservice to readers. Saying that the listings can be found online ignores the fact that people often decide to see a show while dining out or driving home, etc., places where they can't log onto the Internet. In a town that revolves around the movie biz, it makes more sense to discontinue other features first. Given the choice between keeping the capsule reviews of the movies and the actual showtimes, I pick the showtimes."
SUNDAY BUSINESS LISTINGS - 110 reader complaints
Cuts were introduced in a note to readers Sunday, Jan. 9. Eliminated were the smallest companies on the NYSE and Nasdaq, mutual funds with the lowest asset values; also, tables no longer list preferred shares or show weekly high and low prices. Some 25 readers asked for the highs and lows to be restored; others offered suggestions for saving newsprint ("Consider seven pages on alternate Sundays or as a minimum the last Sunday of the month.").
The reader makes an especially good point about movie times. The whole reason for Calendar Weekend was to help people plan their off days (and to deflate the popularity of the weekend listings tabloid in the Daily News and other papers in the LANG chain.) Considering all the effort LATimes.com has put into convincing casual readers that it costs money to use CalendarLive, I wonder if the free movie times there will get much traffic. [You mean any traffic, right?—ed. Yes.]