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The newspaper industry has been battered over recent years, as people migrate their reading online and sites like Craigslist steal classified dollars. Now newspapers may need to defend another revenue stream — the Sunday circular — as Office Depot has decided to take some of the money it spends on the stalwart print ad format and shift it to online video.
Circulars, or free-standing inserts, are the colorful collection of ads stuffed inside the Sunday edition of newspapers. (They’re perfect for lining bird cages.) MediaPost reports that Office Depot, which typically spends “hundreds of millions of dollars” on print circular ads each year, will shift some of that money into an online circular that features video, community and commerce — something a print publication can’t do.
As part of that effort, Office Depot has created a weekly web series aimed at small businesses called Specials with Matt and Matt. It features two hosts (the Matts) who offer advice and, of course, present specials and promotions on office equipment in a comedic manner. The show is available at www.survivalofthesmartest.com, and will also be launched on Hulu.
The show and the site itself are a bit clunky to watch and navigate through, and on their own won’t topple the circular ad industry. But Specials with Matt and Matt and survivalofthesmartest.com were reportedly created for a fraction of what Office Depot spends on the print versions. If the retailer sticks with it, the show, the user experience, and the community building will all get better and cheaper. And pretty soon, people will have to find something else to put underneath their parrots.