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The Almighty Buck The Media

Who Will Control the Cost of the NYT On Digital Readers? 217

Posted by timothy
from the hand-of-fate dept.
RobotRunAmok writes "Ryan Tate, at Gawker, describes the 'heated turf war' waging at the New York Times. The print and digital divisions have differing views over how much a subscription to the Gray Lady (iPad edition) should cost. The print troops believe $20-$30 monthly is the proper price point (fearing that setting the mark any lower will jeopardize print distribution), while the digital soldiers are digging in their heels at $10 a month. The Kindle version is already managed by the Print Army, so don't count on logic necessarily driving any decisions here. It's complicated: the Web version of the paper is still free through 2011, and the computer 'Times Reader' has already been released and priced at $14.95 monthly."
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Who Will Control the Cost of the NYT On Digital Readers?

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  • by yog (19073) * on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:48AM (#31198044) Homepage Journal
    I think the real question should be, how much should a paid subscription cost?

    As a long time subscriber to online.wsj.com, the online version of the Wall Street Journal, I have watched my online subscription cost float up from around $75 promotional price to $155 on the latest bill. (I have a query in to customer support to find out why they were advertising a combined print + online deal for only $135 a month or two ago, yet they're sticking it to me.) Thus far, I have tolerated this annual fee in exchange for excellent content.

    Once an online subscription exceeds about $25/year, you would expect it to have some substantial and unique value that compels you to pay. The WSJ has a tremendous volume of financial and business content, plus provocative commentary, active talk-backs, and broad news coverage. I can't get through it in a day, certainly not in 30 minutes over coffee at 7am, and tend to cherry-pick the interesting titles during little breaks throughout the day (and, now, on the bus/bathroom/in bed using a Nexus One android phone).

    Unlike the WSJ, which is truly a national/international content provider, the NY Times has a regional quality to it that reflects its liberal, middle-to-upper class urban New York readership. Furthermore, all of the national and international news can be obtained from AP, Reuters, and BBC websites for free. Will someone in Boston, Toronto, Fresno, or Omaha feel as compelled to spend $25/month (i.e., $300/year) for such content?

    My recommendation to the New York Times is to keep the price low initially, then start to add premium features (more video, interactive stuff, discounted 3rd party deals, etc.) for subscribers only and try to build up your paid online readership. If you start out by gouging people who are used to a free NY Times online, most of them will simply jump ship to one of the dozens of other, free news services available. Hubris will get you nowhere.
    • by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:05AM (#31198156)
      The way I see it is on one hand you're paying for ONE news source and on the other hand you can go to Google News and at a glance see news from MULTIPLE news sources both locally and around the word.

      These days we also get a lot of great personal accounts/coverage from normal people in their blogs, podcasts, websites, twitter, etc.

      A couple months ago I saw a fire near my apartment. I search the name of the street on Twitter and there were tons of tweets describing what was going on with pictures, warning people that the street was closed, the air was thick with smoke and to steer clear. It wasn't until hours later during their 6pm evening news that the news corps reported on it.
      • by Albanach (527650) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:24AM (#31198250) Homepage

        A good newspaper should be doing that for you. Newspapers are no longer about delivering 'breaking news'. The 24/7 news cycle has ended that. The typical readership of a quality newspaper know what happened in the world yesterday. They want to know why it happened and what the consequences might be.

        Today newspapers should be about the insightful commentary, bringing together of sources and unique investigative journalism. Of course these are also the most expensive parts, so have been targeted for cuts by many newspapers.

        The problem the print division at the NYT faces is that the cost per printed copy is directly dependent on subscription volume. So if folk stop taking the paper copy, they cost to produce it increases - you have all the same costs for typesetting and running a print works, you just saved some cents worth of paper and a blob of ink.

        • by geekmux (1040042) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:39AM (#31199012)

          ...The typical readership of a quality newspaper know what happened in the world yesterday. They want to know why it happened and what the consequences might be.

          In this twitterific RSS-enabled environment feeding an entire generation of instant-gratification kids (uh, talking about 12 - 24 year-olds), who also seem to be "suffering" from ADD/ADHD, just how long do you think the type of reader profile YOU speak of is going to be around? You can barely run certain types of businesses today on "yesterdays" news.

          Sorry, but print is dying. There's a reason that news is on 24/7, because the entire world is now used to "instant" news, and if you're not fresh as of 24 seconds ago, you are an aging dinosaur. The only way you're going to stay alive is with online dynamic content, which could even make the eBook reader versions obselete in a few years, unless the e-content is dynamically updated.

          • by weston (16146)

            Sorry, but print is dying.

            Sure, but mid- and long-form don't have to.

            In this twitterific RSS-enabled environment feeding an entire generation of instant-gratification kids (uh, talking about 12 - 24 year-olds), who also seem to be "suffering" from ADD/ADHD, just how long do you think the type of reader profile YOU speak of is going to be around?

            I don't know the exact length, but I'm pretty sure it's only few decades short of the end of society as we know it.

            I'd explain, but that's probably a tl/dr.

        • too many of their articles encourage you to go online to view even more in depth content, content that apparently is free and if not bugmenot can do it (they don't charge for it)

          Another reason the print side is more costly, more union involvement at each stage. I am curious how they transition to digital without maintaining the legacy costs

        • by kramerd (1227006)

          The problem the print division at the NYT faces is that the cost per printed copy is directly dependent on subscription volume. So if folk stop taking the paper copy, they cost to produce it increases - you have all the same costs for typesetting and running a print works, you just saved some cents worth of paper and a blob of ink.

          This is true only if the NYT staff really, really sucks at math. The cost to produce the paper version of the NYT is relatively fixed; the income derived from selling the paper version is not. If half of print circulation dissapears (while the cost to produce the paper does not materially change), NYT can make up the lost revenue by selling the online version (note, without the cost of ink and paper) at practically the exact same cost as the paper version. If I can get the paper version for $175 a year, the

      • by tepples (727027)

        The way I see it is on one hand you're paying for ONE news source and on the other hand you can go to Google News and at a glance see news from MULTIPLE news sources both locally and around the word.

        But if all local newspapers controlled by News Corporation and other major newspaper holding companies start charging, all you'll see on English-language Google News are BBC, AP, and Reuters.

        • by delinear (991444)
          Let's wait and see how many newspapers successfully follow that model - especially considering the ones who take the plunge and go first will suddenly lose all the influx of traffic/advertising revenue that Google was previously sending their way. If they're big players they might survive, otherwise there's a good chance they'll quickly disappear and someone else will step up to offer free news in their place.
          • by tepples (727027)

            otherwise there's a good chance they'll quickly disappear and someone else will step up to offer free news in their place.

            That's why News Corporation was trying to collude with its competitors in each local market to shut off free access to the public at the same time.

        • They will also see a massive drop in their readership, as people such as myself are not willing to pay to access news that we can get for free from many other places. Most of the news articles are just the AP article anyways, with maybe only minor changes. Hardly worth paying for.
      • by jav1231 (539129)
        True but Google has this tendency to link to commentary and opinion blogs in their "news" section, as if. Don't get me wrong, journalism has largely become commentary but I wish Google did what newspapers used to do and put such under a heading that identified them as so.
      • by Brandee07 (964634)

        The way I see it is on one hand you're paying for ONE news source and on the other hand you can go to Google News and at a glance see news from MULTIPLE news sources both locally and around the word.

        These days we also get a lot of great personal accounts/coverage from normal people in their blogs, podcasts, websites, twitter, etc.

        A couple months ago I saw a fire near my apartment. I search the name of the street on Twitter and there were tons of tweets describing what was going on with pictures, warning people that the street was closed, the air was thick with smoke and to steer clear. It wasn't until hours later during their 6pm evening news that the news corps reported on it.

        Google News and Twitter are great sources for breaking news, and I use it for that, but it's inherently sensationalist. The topics that are the most talked about get put on the Google News page, not the best or most relevant. You're just as likely to see an article about Tiger Woods as you are about Iran's enrichment program, but any of the in-depth, after-the-fact commentary or articles about issues that for whatever reason didn't catch the public eye are left out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by xaxa (988988)

        A couple months ago I saw a fire near my apartment. I search the name of the street on Twitter and there were tons of tweets describing what was going on with pictures, warning people that the street was closed, the air was thick with smoke and to steer clear. It wasn't until hours later during their 6pm evening news that the news corps reported on it.

        If I want to know about today's fire I can ask the firefighters [london-fire.gov.uk]. Good journalism tells me why the fire last month happened, who was imprisoned for causing the fire last year, and what law (building regulation) is being changed to prevent another fire like the one two years ago. Next year, good journalism will report on how someone in breach of these regulations got away with it.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:29AM (#31198298) Homepage

      To me? I dont think the NYT is worth more than $4.99 a month. and that is only if it's available on ANY of my readers not just a blessed one they want me to have.

      Honestly, they have to compete with every other source of news on the net, Many free, some I pay for. and honestly the "lyfestyle" and other sections I really dont care about so they have a zero value to me. AND not being a New York resident it has even lower value to me as it's only a source for national news which I can get myself elsewhere. Google,CNN,Yahoo and others give me a ton of that for free. So outside of NY the NYT has even a lower value, most people I know think my $4.99 is way too much.

      • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:45AM (#31199124) Journal
        the "lyfestyle" and other sections I really dont care about so they have a zero value to me

        This bundling is a problem in other places as well... I am this close (fingers 3mm apart) to canceling ALL of my cable TV, because the prices keeps going up - the reason "channels such as CNN and ESPN are raising their rates."

        Fine, can I get a package with Discovery, History, and a few others, WITHOUT CNN and ESPN? no.

        Broadcasters are starting to have many of the same issues The Press is having.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          Actually I have canceled Cable-TV. It's worthless to me and my wife. If we want to watch TV we turn on the TV and tune in one of the local ATSC channels. If there is a specific show, mythbusters for example, I simply retrieve it from a friends house where I set them up a mythtv box. we add what few shows we like to it and make them transcode to avi on a rss feed for me. when we go over there I simply grab the files on my netbook and we are good to go.

          I get the free tv shows without the risk of torrenti

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ickleberry (864871)

            mythbusters for example, I simply retrieve it from a friends house where I set them up a mythtv box

            Well that would work fine for an episode of mythbusters but that does that mean I have to pull an episode of Top Gear out of an actual gear box?

    • by dcw3 (649211)

      I think the real question should be, how much should a paid subscription cost?

      ...not necessarily directed at the NYTimes
      Until they start publishing unopinionated news, I'd suggest free. I can get all the talking heads, left and right, on the Sunday morning shows for that price now.

      rant...
      I'm tired of the constant bias, and the bullshit entertainment "news". Seriously, if I wanted to see that, I'd tune into the entertainment channel...sorry, I don't give a shit about Tiger Woods flings, or any such nonsense. Give us the real news, and put it into the proper perspective instead of h

    • by jc42 (318812)

      I think the real question should be, how much should a paid subscription cost?

      Excellent phrasing of the issue. Unfortunately, the most elegant phrasing of the answer is something that the many armchair economists here rarely mention:

      Whatever the market will bear.

      I say "unfortunately" partly because this answer, while accurate, contains no clue about how you determine the price. The answer to that is "trial and error" (or "market research" if you prefer ;-). If you just ask people, y

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Unlike the WSJ, which is truly a national/international content provider, the NY Times has a regional quality to it that reflects its liberal, middle-to-upper class urban New York readership.

      Ha ha! Your post is mostly sensible, but if you don't think the WSJ is pandering to its readership (particularly its editorial page), then I beg to differ.

      However I agree the WSJ is in a relatively strong position to charge for its contents, because the argument can be made it is an investment that will pay off, an

    • by ffflala (793437)

      Comparing the relative qualities of NYT -v- WSJ will tell us more about the comparer's own bias than anything, and can obscure the discussion. The NYT is recognized as a truly national/international content provider, despite your implication to the contrary.

      I agree that the WSJ economic coverage is excellent. But characterizing the NYT as a regional, liberal, middle/upper class NY paper is inaccurate. The NYT has a social, humanities element to its coverage that the WSJ has consistently lacked, and this app

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by meta_gorn (316019)

      I think it's a generational thing. Older folks, like, oh, say, Rupert Murdoch, believe that a newspaper is a newspaper, no matter what its format, and you should pony up for it. Serious investigative journalism costs real money, they say. Fair enough. But of course, Murdoch goes too far, in pricing content too high and with this nonsense of trying shake down search engines for even linking to content.

      Middle-age folks like me, who grew up w/o the internet but are still young enough to fully embrace it, mi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:55AM (#31198080)

    Does it really matter? The price doesn't change the fact that the NYT's journalism is basically shit most of the time, even though they are one of the most "respect" papers in the US.

    Their coverage of the run-up to the Iraqi War was abysmal, for instance. It was pretty clear then that they should have done their journalistic duty and printed much more about how those pushing for war were just plain wrong. And now we know that they basically just repeated the lies and bullshit spewed by various Republican and Democrat politicians during that time period.

    It's not a "Democrats vs. Republicans" or "left vs. right" situation, either. They should be tearing Obama and the Democrats several new assholes for their handling of Wall Street, Afghanistan and other issues. But for whatever reason, they don't, or if they try to it's quite feebly done.

    The NYT, were it actually concerned with journalism, would themselves be ripping into Wall Street and corporate America. But then again, I suppose they can't, because they seem more concerned with advertising revenue over realistic and quality reporting.

    Regardless of what they charge, I'm not going to pay any money for their content when they don't ask the hard-hitting questions of politicians and corporations, and do the real investigative journalism that's worthy of money.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:55AM (#31198084) Journal
    Whether the digital edition affects sales of the print edition is beside the point. Online news is going to affect the sales of the print edition anyway. the question is whether the NYT wants a segment of that or not.

    Digital media is distruptive technology. If the NYT doesn't clobber their print sales someone else is going to do the job for them.
    • by Tim C (15259)

      Yes, but the people working for (and in charge of) the print part of the business are not the same as those involved with the digital part. Each department is no doubt charged with maximising profit from their department, and with maximising the profit of the organisation as a whole.

      It's an unusual person who would say "You know what I think? I think my department is antiquated and should be phased out; if you want to succeed, your best chance is to fire me and all my employees" - especially when their depa

  • Egon said it best (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:00AM (#31198114)

    Print is dead.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Of course it is, it's bad for the environment (paper, energy for print, energy to transport it, waste), it's unwieldy (heavier and bigger than say an iPad or Kindle) and it's inconvenient (yet another thing to keep in your hands or suitcase).

      I don't know why papers are not concentrating on their digital versions. If they can make a paper for $1.50/day in real paper including all the overhead of actual printing and distribution while still maintaining an online version, the cost for just the online version s

      • That fraction most definitely can be offset by some Google Ads.

        A rather twisted example. Lets try to not give the evil monopolies more power, even when discussing a mere hypothetical.

  • Economics 102 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mononoke (88668) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:03AM (#31198136) Homepage Journal

    Who Will Control the Cost of the NYT On Digital Readers?

    The consumer will. The consumer ultimately determines the value of any item sold.

    • Re:Economics 102 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by djupedal (584558) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:19AM (#31198224)
      >"The consumer will. The consumer ultimately determines the value of any item sold."

      How's that working out for you with Comcast and Shell Oil, by the way? They both accepted it when you put your foot down, did they?
      • Re:Economics 102.5 (Score:2, Insightful)

        by number6x (626555)

        An even better example would be natural gas prices. Remember when Enron got caught in its scheme to artificially inflate natural gas prices? They had shell companies bidding and selling to each other driving the price up by creating artificial demand.

        Of course when the scheme was uncovered the price of natural gas should have dropped down to the consumer set price...

        It didn't drop at all. The price is at the still artificial high. The ultimate consumer of the product doesn't have the power to influence

        • by furball (2853)

          If the price is higher than the value it presents to the consumer, why would the consumer buy it? Are they stupid?

          • It's the closest homeowner equivalent of vendor lock-in. If I have a natural gas oven or water heater, the price of not buying natural gas is high even if natural gas is overpriced relative to electricity or other forms of energy.

          • by Rolgar (556636)

            It takes a little bit to switch providers. You need to figure out how you're going to pay for your electric water heater and furnace\space heaters. If people decide the cost of changing doesn't pay for itself through the reduced cost of energy, many will wait until they have no choice but to replace the unit, and switch then.

          • Yes.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by natehoy (1608657)

            Yeah, why would the consumer want to cook? Or heat their house? Or want hot water?

            Silly consumers, buying overpriced necessities from a monopoly! They should just pay $5000 and convert all their appliances over to run on energy provided by the local electric grid.

            Oh, wait, that's usually another monopoly....

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            You can either pay what the supplier asks, or you can freeze to death. You can decide which is the stupid option.

      • Re:Economics 102 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by natehoy (1608657) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:07AM (#31198644) Journal

        Different markets.

        NYT has competition. There are still plenty of news sources out there, even if you're in the market for local news in New York City. If they set their price too high, people will choose others. They aren't a monopoly.

        Comcast is a monopoly, at least in my area. If Comcast sets their price too high, I could still choose others, but no one else is authorized to use the cheapest means to reach my house (coaxial cable), so it's not competition in any real sense. I can't go to anyone else and get wired Internet for any price, and wireless options are either slower or more expensive (and usually both). The only other possible competitor is our somewhat-new local phone company (Fairpoint) and they are imploding at the moment, so I don't expect to see any new service offerings from them between now and their Chapter 7 declaration, which many of us are expecting any month now.

    • by Albanach (527650) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:25AM (#31198264) Homepage

      The consumer ultimately determines the value of any item sold.

      Sure they will, because corporations would never engage in anti-competitive actions to the detriment of the consumer.

  • Different Prices? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:05AM (#31198146) Homepage
    Why would different digital versions cost different amounts of money?
    What they should do is just charge $X for the stories, giving them all digital formats (as digital is relatively free to distribute). and then charge a little extra if they also want it in print, as that actually costs them money to print.

    This way it looks like if you want NYT available to you in all formats you would need to fork over ($10-$30)+Free+$14.95+(whatever they charge for paper)= [lots of money]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by GSPride (763993)

      This way it looks like if you want NYT available to you in all formats you would need to fork over ($10-$30)+Free+$14.95+(whatever they charge for paper)= [lots of money]

      If you're already a print subscriber, you get the Times Reader ($14.95 a month) free, as part of your subscription. I'm not sure if that carries over to their Kindle edition, or if it would carry over to the iPad edition.

      • by Brandee07 (964634)

        I'm not sure if that carries over to their Kindle edition

        Subscriber-only services from newspaper websites do not apply to Kindle subscribers.

        /only slightly bitter

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:10AM (#31198182)

    Dear reader, consider

    1. The newspapers business model is based on information scarcity, which is increasingly difficult to enforce today; yet
    2. Newspapers are great to have because they offer better-researched, more compressive, and less biased news and commentary than random blogs. Compare the Huffington Post to the Washington Post.

    The New York Times has chosen to cling to the conventional business model as long as possible. But there is a better way [nytimes.com]: recognize that newspapers are something special, and have worth in society as more than just another business. Endow them and let them self-finance.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      Purleeease. There are no "less biased" news spigots, just ones that spurt your favourite flavour of Kool-Aid. Nobody ever made money by telling half their readers what they didn't want to hear.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209)

        There are no "less biased" news spigots, just ones that spurt your favourite flavour of Kool-Aid.

        Bull. If you want to argue no paper is 100% "unbiased" (whatever that would mean), then I agree, since it's an impossible standard. But some are much better than others at presenting factual information supporting multiple viewpoints on a wide range of issues.

    • by rhsanborn (773855)

      Newspapers are great to have because they offer better-researched, more compressive, and less biased news and commentary than random blogs.

      You haven't read the NY Times lately, have you?

    • by khallow (566160)
      Endowment with public funds? No way for me. The NYT might not be able to cope without public funds, but I can cope without the NYT.

      Aside from squandering money on yet another useless cause, let us keep in mind that public endowments would allow government greater control over news sources.
    • by delinear (991444) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:40AM (#31199038)
      If only that were true - I don't know what the situation is in the US, but over here most of the newspapers switched from investigative journalism to barely informed gossip a couple of decades ago (facts are expensive, gossip is cheap, if you want to cut your costs you just boost the noise to signal ration some more). For them to now argue that they're better than blogs because of the high quality of their journalism is laughable.
  • Like so many transitional businesses, newspapers have to ask what is their core concern. Do they want to collect and write news that will attract customers, or run printing presses and distribution routes.

    While book publishers can claim that printing and distribution is not a major cost, newspapers cannot, and online newsreaders cannot subsidize the offline equipment. Given this anything over $100 a year is likely unreasonable. We do not have to a pay a human to deliver. We do not have to pay for a vehi

    • by grumling (94709)

      Digital readers are only seeing a small fraction of the advertising that the print reader sees. I know what you're going to say, that because digital readers are able to be tracked they are worth more, but for the local advertiser (I would guess most of the NYT print readers are still local), they don't have as much access to the tracking tools as a major ad agency (yet). The New York market may be an exception in this regard, but I'd be willing to bet that most of the print media advertisers still use the

      • by Brandee07 (964634)

        Digital readers are only seeing a small fraction of the advertising that the print reader sees.

        Kindle newspaper subscriptions have NO ads, and no classified section either.

        While it's a blessing as a reader, I imagine it chafes terribly for the newspaper's finance department, since I'm pretty sure they make most of their money selling ads.

        Then again, the internet at large has conditioned me into thinking that "ads are for free things, and things I pay for have no ads." I would probably be VERY upset if ads started showing up in my Kindle newspapers.

    • by bws111 (1216812)
      The problem they have is that they have (today) two major expenses: content and printing. They also have (today) three sources of revenue: print advertising, print subscription, and online advertising. As I understand it, the print subscription revenue basically pays the printing costs/delivery. The print advertising revenue pays for the collecting and writing of the news. The online advertising revenue is tiny, even though they are one of the most visited sites. So, as print goes away, they basically
      • Actually, the NYT's major expense is servicing their debt. A few years ago, they took on massive debt that is now crushing them. They are on the brink of bankruptcy because of bad management, not the internet.

        I understand their concern - they don't want the digital side of the business cannibalizing the print side. But guess what -- if they don't do it, somebody else will.

  • Why do the print guys have ANYTHING to say about what the digital version cost? Just lower print circulation down to bare minimum (i.e. enough for politicians and news stands), cut out home delivery, and go almost all digital, and then in 10-30 years cut out print circulation completely. It will lower their costs and increase their profit.

    Why are newspapers so scared about giving up the most expensive part of their business?

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      Because it's the only one they still know how to make money on?

      Pay-for online access is still in its infancy in the news business, and free competition is rampant because papers have traditionally made their money off the print editions and offered online access as an also-ran. Now the paper subscriptions are dwindling and they are still losing money online, and based on the outrage you see every time one of the papers decides that they need to actually make money on their online offerings you can see why

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nedlohs (1335013)

      Cutting print circulation to that extent results in each printed copy of the paper costing $12,134.1

      Compare the cost of a full page ad in the NYT with the cost of a banner ad on a web page. That might be a hint as to why they'd rather not cannibalize their printed subscription base.

      * The result of extensive economic calculations, or made up?

  • They have profit from the printed version, even if the cost that the user pay includes the cost of paper/ink/infrastructure to make it, plus all the costs around distribution (that is a big percent of the total). The digital version and distribution have its costs too, but are close to nil for each reader. and the distribution goes really global and on time. And that, without taking into account the income of ads. Is a field where they have more potential readers, but more competition too. But still,they ch
  • Have a range of offerings from a budget version to a gold-plated one. Set them at different prices (duh!) and see which is / are the most popular. Hardly rocket science. I don't see why they're so hung up on talking about *the* price for *the* publication.
  • Errrm, ... the market and the customers? ... Maybe? ... Just some random thought.

  • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Friday February 19, 2010 @11:13AM (#31199444)

    Why not just charge a billion dollars? That way, they'd only need to sell one...

  • by Necron69 (35644) <jscott DOT farrow AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @11:25AM (#31199600)

    Are they nuts? I honestly doubt whether I'll renew my local paper (The Denver Post) next year. I'm paying about $35/year for a Thursday-Sunday subscription, and even that seems like too much. The news is outdated and I've read it all online by the time the paper is delivered. The only thing I'm really still getting it for is local advertisements and coupons. The NY Times has none of those things, and I can read the same AP/Reuters articles anywhere. I could care less about their editorials and investigative stuff. If it is really important, it will show up all over the web in short order.

    Necron69

  • more for less? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erwin (8773) on Friday February 19, 2010 @11:59AM (#31200050)

    I had a Kindle subscription to the NYT, but canceled it recently because it didn't have a lot of the cool stuff - like the puzzle. I couldn't see the point to paying for a neutered product.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday February 19, 2010 @12:00PM (#31200066) Homepage Journal

    Newspaper corporations are expert at missing the boat on media changes. Newspapers could easily have gone into radio when it became a mass medium in the 1920s-1930s. Either running an entire station that just read the paper over the air, maybe with extra features inserted, in between the ads, or just syndicating readings to other stations. They could have done the same when TV came around. Both times they let their hugely popular, powerful and profitable industry get knocked down by newcomers in the new medium. By the time the Internet arrived in prime time, they were already pros at missing the boat, and this time missed the perfect medium for them to dominate.

    Now they'll screw up mobile readers, because they are locked in a late 1800s mentality. They hate interactivity, customization by readers, sharing, or anything else that's different from being the voice of a central authority on facts increasingly out of touch with the reality they say they cover.

    The only new medium newspapers ever tried to adopt was movies, with newsreels. A terrible way to present anything but the most sensationalistic and trivial news, but an effective propaganda tool. That is what the newspaper industry reduces itself to by treating its consumers with contempt, instead of embracing opportunities to communicate more effectively: a manipulative entertainment tool.

    No wonder nobody even wraps fish with them anymore.

  • Naysayers Unite (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lackofsleep (1749320)

    Because you're dead right in this case.

    People are not stupid. They're not going to pay that much for a subscription to the mishmash that the paper edition has to be. This newspapers and others have stars in the eyes. This former journalist makes a good argument here [barryschiffman.com]

  • I have to admit that I know nothing about the newspaper industry, and if this was so easy to solve that it would have been done already. However, I can’t resist thinking that most of these companies will need to fail in order to allow other models that can be profitable to rise out of the ashes.

    Maybe it's time for the company to split into 2 parts - one for content, one for printing. In other words, completely outsource the printing/delivery of the paper into a separate company. I know they do t

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