by Spencer Buell | March 7, 2018 3:18 pm
Boston’s paper of record is apparently about to get a whole lot more expensive.
According to the Boston Business Journal (which was tipped off by a customer service rep), the Boston Globe is preparing to raise its home delivery rate to $25.90 per week, for those around Boston who get the paper every day—making it the nation’s most expensive regional newspaper delivery. Getting a Globe on your doorstep every morning might soon cost you a whopping $1,350 a year.
The current non-discounted rate of $14.34 works out to about $750 a year for the Boston metro area, so that would be an increase of about 80 percent. Yep, 80 percent! The Globe informed its subscribers last week that the rate would rise to $19.70 a week, but won’t confirm the plans to raise it further, according to the BBJ.
If that sounds like a lot of money, well, compared to literally every other newspaper in the country, it is. The New York Times‘ daily subscription rate, for example, is $16.26.
The Globe‘s web-only subscription (for now) goes for $6.93 a week, adding up to about $360 a year. Freeloaders used to be able to breach BostonGlobe.com’s firewall using a browser’s “incognito” mode, but the paper closed that backdoor last year.
We shouldn’t necessarily expect to see a mass exodus of Globe daily subscribers, though. Hiking rates for delivery has actually tended to work for legacy newspapers, according to Joshua Benton at Harvard’s Neiman Journalism Lab, who says papers around the country are realizing print loyalists will pay a premium for a physical copy every day:
For the past decade, one of the very few (relative?) bright spots in newspaper earnings reports has been circulation revenue, which has either held steady or dropped only slightly for many. (Compared to the complete collapse of print advertising revenue, “only down a little” is an offer you’d take.) The reason for that stability isn’t that people stopped canceling their print subscriptions — it’s that newspapers decided to charge subscribers more (a lot more).
The bet: If you’re still reading a print newspaper in the 2010s, you’ve probably been doing it your entire adult life, and it’s a habit you don’t want to break. So rather than chase marginal readers, as papers did in the 1990s and early 2000s — “Let’s start a new weekly feature just for these young Gen X types!” — publishers pivoted to soaking their core readers for all their worth. Fewer subscribers but at a higher price meant roughly stable revenue.
How subscribers will react to the new rate remains to be seen, but one can assume delivery problems that have hit the paper from time to time in recent years won’t go over quite as well at $1,350.
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2018/03/07/globe-home-delivery-price/
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