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 Post subject: BUGLE No 14
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 11:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 45
PROGRESS THE DEATH OF PROGRAMMES?

In many ways, I’m old fashioned and a bit of a traditionalist. I even write my match notes in scribble that could pass as sandskrit art! Books in paper form rather than kindle? Newspapers rather than the internet? Programmes instead of social media? Yes except for the latter! Programmes still have a place in Northern League football but the numbers just don’t add up. The costs involved in production, the number of fans through the turnstiles, the number of prog sales, the costs of advertising, the number of hours involved writing, editing etc unless you pay for a printing company to do it in your name. They call it a labour of love. It’s a labour, that can’t be sustained financially in the short term. Billingham Town’s previous glossy looking edition proved to be a white elephant. It won admirers for its looks and I contributed to a fair amount of it, but at £2.00, the ends, simply didn’t justify the means. Who were we aiming the programme at? Supporters? Groundhoppers? Sponsors? To this day, I’m still not sure what was achieved by it. It began with quality paper, but got thinner and thinner, to the point where there was little content inside. The Chief Executives notes, Vice Chairman’s and myself as Press Officer were often regurgitating the same banal platitudes and looking back, some of it made cringeworthy reading. To produce a programme in colour form, at that price, you would need gates of 200 to 300 with at least 120 paying customers. The other week at Willington, when Town drew 1-1 against Durham, the Citizens produced a full colour programme for £1 with original content. Admittedly, it was thinner than ours but it was still value for money. The only advantage the paper form programme has over Social Media is the fact that the elderly may not want to use a computer or mobile devices, the same way in which they prefer to have local bank branches than use on line banking. Durham have proved it is possible to produce a quality programme based on low sales. I fear Town’s programme was an attempt to win awards rather than thinking of supporters, sponsors needs etc. People no longer want to pay for journalism. They would rather visit websites, Facebook, apps, twitter etc where it can be viewed for free. So the Town programme became a financial drain on either the club or the individual behind it. I know this by the vast amounts of unsold programmes boxed up back in the offices. Yes, it was nice to look at, but never judge a programme by its cover! Programmes are mementos of the match day experience but surely its a case of supply and demand. At the moment, the demand simply isn’t there! Climb the pyramid, add on a few hundred new supporters and then produce a programme of substance...not a half hearted attempt to win brownie points!


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