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AZ Republic going behind paywall

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by PCLoadLetter, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member


    They make a big effort to point out that all the various print subscription options include full online access. What they don't point out quite as clearly: they're jacking the prices up ridiculously.

    I pay $11 a month for a Republic subscription now. Under the new plan, the same subscription will be $24 a month.

    Honestly, if you want to kill the print edition, just sack up and kill the print edition. Don't raise the price by more than double so you can pretend you are responding to reader demand when you shut it down next year.

    As someone who works for a different news outlet in town this is nothing but good for me professionally, but I hate seeing newspapers make moves like this. This is beyond foolish.
  2. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    That's very interesting ... and frustrating, PC.

    My parents, sister and other extended family members live in metro Phoenix, and I always thought The Republic had done a good job keeping the quality up despite (I'm sure) the usual Gannett cutbacks.

    This graph buried in the FAQs section is the crux of the problem:

    Twenty-five cents more PER DAY?? Just do the math on that one, and I can see why print subscribers will be pissed off.

    My parents get the Republic delivered -- at least some days of the week (I think there's some partial subscription plans, like Wednesday plus the weekend). I'll have to ask them about their "letter" and see if they're willing to pay more.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    This might have made sense quite a few years ago when they were still trying as a news organization and there was a good chance you'd find something to read for your money.

    Of late it has been trying half-assedly to be a newspaper and a celebrity site, and doing neither particularly well.
  4. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    Print subscribers should definitely be pissed off.
  5. J-School Blue

    J-School Blue Member

    My parents subscribe, and I talked about this a bit with my dad this weekend. I'm generally pro-paywall - too little, too late though it may be - but I was surprised when he told me how much they were charging subscribers.

    He seems willing to pay for now, but my folks are people who will never not get the newspaper. They used to get the Tribune, which still delivers in their area, and even though it's a shell of its former self he mentioned looking into it again. 25 cents a day is obscene.
  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I know of many papers (like the NYT and several chains) that are doing the modified thing (allowing up to 10 "free stories" a month, before you are blocked.

    I would think what Phoenix should do is make the initial entry point very low and then gradually move it up (see cable/sat TV plans).

    Or maybe this is the opening salvo and they'll say Wait! For the next 7 days we will lower the rate to $X before it goes back to the regular price?
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    My paper charges $23.80 (oddly, no employee discount here) and the truth is that if I didn't work here, I still would be willing to pay triple that. The $23.80 is a little less than half than I pay to go to a gym, and being informed about my locale is (OK, sadly) far more important to me than the condition of my body.

    No one covers my locale better than my newspaper, and I thought that even when I worked for competing papers, although I would not have said so. You can't be an informed citizen of my state without reading us. There are zero realistic alternatives. The paper is a bargain at $23.80.

    Our circulation department now makes a profit, BTW. This wasn't the case until very recently. We would be in far deeper shit without this.

    Also, I believe that readers willing to pay $24 should be viewed as more valuable to advertisers than people who draw the line at $12.
  8. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    The plan, according to what I read, is to add new sections to the print edition. Might be worth the higher price if the new Republic has a higher page count.

    $10 for the e-edition of the Republic isn't bad at all, IMHO.
  9. silvercharm

    silvercharm Member

    "People are much more used to paying to access information and entertainment than they were a few years ago," said L. Gordon Crovitz, co-founder of Press+, a company that helps publishers build online-subscription models. "By the end of 2012, we think it will be the exception for a U.S. newspaper to be free on the Web anymore."

    Let's put the overstating-our-case on overdrive, OK? By the end of 2012...will be the exception? Someone is full of shit. Are newspapers leaning in this direction? Sure. But Crovitz might want to check the calendar and notice there are less than five months remaining in 2012. It won't be until at least 2014 that there's a majority, let alone "the exception."
  10. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    And here's part of the equation that is going to make this very hard for the Republic: there are four TV station in town with news on the web, and I can guarantee you they will not be charging for the web by the end of 2012. There is not as big a gap in quality between azcentral.com and the TV stations as you might expect, and I can tell you our website is updated much more aggressively than azcentral is. Those stations will all be making a major push to steal readers from azcentral, and I suspect they'll make a pretty good dent. Much of our web content is generated by newspaper vets with decades of experience. Azcentral relies largely on interns, from everything I've seen. It will still be the go-to for the slideshow on the Valley's Hottest Bartenders, though.

    I'd love the think the paper is really going to add content. I've been handed religious tracts that are thicker than today's Republic. I'll believe it when I see it.

    And again, while anything that hurts the Republic tends to benefit me professionally, the whole thing makes me sad. I like reading a good newspaper, and I believe a strong newspaper presence is a great benefit to the community. The last traces of that are fading here.
  11. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    I am willing to bet you are in the very, very minority. People don't like it when something they used to get for free is now something they have to pay for, no matter what the cost.

    I don't think pay wells - particularly done the way the Republic is doing - can necessarily be effective in big markets. People will move on; as someone said, TV could very well take advantage. There are other ways to get your news. If you're in a small market, yes, a pay wall may be effective; in fact, if I was a publisher in a small market, I WOULD put in a pay wall. But in a big market like Arizona? You're pretty much digging your own grave.
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    My market is larger than Phoenix's. We don't have a pay wall -- I'm talking the price of the newspaper.

    TV people obviously are not going to agree that newspapers offer a superior news product, but can they deny that newspaper readers see it that way? They've been paying for the paper for decades, and they did this why? Because they were unaware of this device called a television? Or because TV's local news was vastly inferior to the newspaper's and unsatisflying even when it was free pre-cable and bundled with other content now? The local TV staffs are always smaller than the newspaper's, and in all but the largest markets, usually less experienced, too. In no way can TV offer a competitive news product online.
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