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The Monitor in the morning

The Christian Science Monitor plans to provide morning doorstep delivery of the paper in more than 50 cities by the end of 2000.

According to early estimates, between 50 and 55 percent of Monitor readers may be able to receive morning delivery.

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The Monitor has signed an 18-month agreement with the Financial Times under which the FT will help the Monitor convert subscribers from mail delivery to doorstep service.

"Readers in home delivery areas will be able to enjoy the Monitor first thing in the morning, when most people prefer to read a newspaper," says Stephen T. Gray, managing publisher of the Monitor. "Morning delivery has become the expected standard of service for national newspapers by metropolitan readers."

Morning delivery will be provided at no additional charge to subscribers.

In the past two years, the Financial Times has built a national shipping and distribution network in the US, shifting a majority of its subscribers from postal delivery to doorstep service. During the same period, the FT's North American circulation has more than doubled to 80,000.

The Financial Times is an international paper reporting on world business. Established in 1888, it is published six days a week and printed in 13 locations around the world.

Doorstep delivery is a key step in plans to increase the Monitor's circulation, which currently stands at 73,000.

"As the Financial Times has shown, this is a great way to build readership," Mr. Gray said. "It's a big advantage to be learning the morning delivery business from the FT team, with its proven record of success."

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Home delivery of the Monitor has been offered in parts of New York City since 1995 and since then circulation in the area has grown 29 percent. More recently, the Monitor has also offered home delivery in the Boston area.

The Monitor's conversion to morning delivery "will be slow at the beginning and will occur gradually," Gray says. Parts of some cities will be converted this fall with additional areas added more quickly in mid to late 2000.

The Monitor will announce at a later date when home delivery will be available in specific cities.

The phased rollout is required because of the major preparations that are needed for a change of this magnitude. As a result of the morning delivery project, the Monitor will make changes in three areas:

*Delivery. The Monitor will be contracting with local delivery companies in as many as 50 cities. Many of them already provide home delivery for the FT and other national papers. The Monitor will need to install a new computer system to track home delivery.

*Transportation. With the FT's help, the Monitor is reconfiguring the trucking and air-freight network that carries papers from printing plants to their destination cities. This will allow papers to get to destination cities earlier, improving delivery reliability for postal subscribers.

*Printing. The Monitor will add a new print site in the Chicago area to provide better service to subscribers in the Midwest and to allow morning delivery in a wider portion of the country. The Monitor currently is printed at plants in Norwood, Mass. and Phoenix.

The Monitor has been delivered almost exclusively by the US Postal Service for many years. This transportation and delivery alliance between the Monitor and the FT also includes the Monitor's assistance to the FT in improving delivery to FT subscribers who receive their paper by mail.

By working together, the two papers "look forward to greater efficiencies and new opportunities in markets, circulation volume and hand delivery," said Stuart Arnold, managing director of the Financial Times, the Americas.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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