IBJNews

Satirical newspaper peels back local distribution

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

No joke: The Onion has ceased distribution in Indianapolis after local advertisers apparently failed to warm to the newspaper's brand of satire.

Less than a year after the newspapers first appeared around the city, the entrepreneurs who own the local franchise rights are collecting newspaper racks and winding down operations.

The principals in locally based Allium Midwest Media LLC, Joshua Schuler and Daniel Wale, did not respond to e-mails Friday morning, and a listed phone number was busy. Both men are veterans of local media sales: Schuler is a former director of sales and marketing for Nuvo. Wale served as Internet sales manager for The Indianapolis Star as late as 2006.

The local version of The Onion was received more warmly by readers than by advertisers, said Ted Fleischaker, publisher of free-circulation newspapers Up Down Town and The Word.

Fleischaker said he exchanged e-mails with Wale in which the Allium principal blamed the operation's demise on uncomfortably low revenue caused by a lack of "consistent advertiser engagement."

"Parody is fun once in awhile, but in pretty staid and tell-it-like-it-is Indianapolis, I never could see it working long term," Fleischaker said.

Allium launched local distribution of The Onion in February in coffee shops, bars and corner newspaper boxes in partnership with Mishawaka-based Schurz Communications LLC.

The original plan called for including a locally oriented version of The A.V. Club, a non-satirical sister publication covering entertainment and pop culture, within the national newspaper. (The Onion does not cede any control of its "news" coverage to franchisees.)

But the local entertainment listings and concert previews disappeared from the local edition of the newspaper a few weeks ago, suggesting the operation was in trouble. The last edition, which remains in some newsstands, is dated Aug. 23.

It was not clear whether Allium is shutting down entirely. The company's franchise agreement with The Onion gave it distribution rights to 11 cities in eight states.

Officials at Onion Inc. headquarters in Chicago could not be reached Friday.

The company for years has circulated papers in big cities including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The company has been adding markets in an effort to boost its free print circulation from about 400,000 to 500,000 newspapers.

The Onion started in 1988 as a weekly newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, The Onion and The A.V. Club claim an audience of about 2 million weekly print readers and 10 million monthly online readers.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Print
    The Onion's problem is format. The print on the articles is absolutely tiny. The layout was horrible. Reading it was work. People aren't ging to read things that are difficult to read, even if the articles are funny.
  • ?
    Is this an Onion article? Hard to tell sometimes...
  • 10 Years too late!
    The last time the Onion was funny was 2001. It grew stale from that point on. I was shocked to hear them trying to open a market in Indianapolis. Bloomington, maybe? They shouldn't have left their day jobs for this project. I guess they probably realize that now; hindsight and all.
  • Marginally funny
    Per this article, it appears the issue was not lack of readers but lack of advertisers. So, let's not blame the average Indy resident for its demise. That said, for every article that left me in stitches, I found 10 that were boring and sophomoric.
  • Use your money then
    Then put your money out there to support it. If it generates money, it will last. Benefits of a free market economy.
  • Come on!
    What a bummer!! This was an awesome paper.
  • Prudes
    Boo. Boo on all the prudish Hoosiers who ruined The Onion fun for everyone else.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

    2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

    3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

    4. Exciting times in Carmel.

    5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1

    ADVERTISEMENT