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Old 07-14-2012, 02:04 PM   #21
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We still subscribe to our metro area print newspaper. Always have and will as long as there is home delivery (which is a separate charge). Our grown kids? Never have, never will.

The main stories in each morning's paper are online the night before, still free (although you now have to register to read some of the content, there is no cost to do so. Some online content I believe is now restricted to people with either a print or digital subscription). I guess the reasoning is that the paper has to put the main stories online asap to be competitive with other online news sources, but an odd business model to give the content away for free before the paying customers receive it. No wonder the press is going down the drain.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
TV? People were getting "free" TV off the antenna for decades but most willingly started paying for cable in the 1970s and 1980s. (And yes, interestingly, the Internet and other technological advances and stgreaming video with Netflix and Hulu among others have fewer and fewer willing to pay for TV again, but when the "pay" model first started coming out for cable TV, it worked.)
But when you have free TV as your only choice, and suddenly there's a cable company in your area (just one company) offering a huge increase in available, very unique channels, you are able to offer a service at a premium price (with a high-cost cable infrastructure to build out and force subscribers to pay for, in addition to content). Back in the 70s and 80s, you couldn't simply call/surf/browse to another cable company or content provider for their channel offering.

Compare that to the internet today, where content providers (newspapers) have no infrastructure cost to recoup to deliver the content - but they have a HUGE number of competitors to compete against with similar content (some of which are free).
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:10 PM   #23
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TV? People were getting "free" TV off the antenna for decades but most willingly started paying for cable in the 1970s and 1980s. (And yes, interestingly, the Internet and other technological advances and stgreaming video with Netflix and Hulu among others have fewer and fewer willing to pay for TV again, but when the "pay" model first started coming out for cable TV, it worked.)

More to the point is whether or not the free services can sustain a profitable business model. If they can't, they go under and consumers either pay for content or do without. We certainly aren't there yet, but we could be. Most likely, IMO, most "free" content will go under but those that survive will command enough of a readership that they will be able to charge enough for ads to make it work.
You very well could be correct, Ziggy. My thinking is going down to the lowest common denominator of the masses in relation to only reading the news. It seems like the masses aren't particularly interested in paying for it and would do without before paying. TV shows, movies, and sports however are a passion! Also in your defense, I have read WSJ is one of the few that are making money off this model, so it can be done. It just seems invariably just like 30 years ago when the afternoon papers went away and only the morning ones remain, there will be even more consolidation of news regionally.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:17 PM   #24
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I used to read the NYT online on a fairly regular basis, until they started charging for it. I've never read it since then. Our local lousy paper (which covers about a 25 mile radius' though has extremely little coverage of our city, which is not only the largest town in the area but also larger than many of the other towns all put together) kept raising prices, while their inept delivery people kept getting worse and worse. They also permanently laid off (fired) about 85% of their local employees, and shipped the set-up and printing to the 90 miles away to one of their affiliates. So I cancelled home delivery, and we just read what little was worthwhile online....2-3 articles per week.

Last month they started charging to read their rag online for (IIRC) $12 per month. Ummm, NOPE!!! It isn't worth anywhere near that amount! I've also read the paper from a nearby town about 15 miles away, which also prints the important NEWS (not fluff) of other nearby communities, including ours. They just started charging for their online edition last week, at a very modest $8 per month. For a buck more ($9 per month) you can add home delivery of their dead tree version! I opted for the online only deal, which allows you to read the standard online edition and/or read or download a PDF version which is an identical copy (with ads, comics page, and the whole nine yards) of the actual daily paper. I love it!!!

I also read (for free online) the Chicago Daily Herald, USA Today, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Quad-Cities Times, and bits and pieces of a few other small-town newspapers. And on my iPad and iPhone I have apps for most of those as well as for news from some TV stations and networks.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:24 PM   #25
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But when you have free TV as your only choice, and suddenly there's a cable company in your area (just one company) offering a huge increase in available, very unique channels, you are able to offer a service at a premium price (with a high-cost cable infrastructure to build out and force subscribers to pay for, in addition to content). Back in the 70s and 80s, you couldn't simply call/surf/browse to another cable company or content provider for their channel offering..
When cable first came out, they didn't add additional channels in many cases. They just provided a better picture (in some cases) for the existing over-the-air channels.

It wasn't until the early 1980s that we really started seeing a few cable-only channels to add additional content value.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:51 PM   #26
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I like reading the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I would gladly purchase a subscription to both. But the NYT digital-only costs $195/year ($250/year if you want to read the same content on your ipad too!) and the WSJ digital-only costs $260/year. That seems way too high to me!
Soup, I bet you could reproduce the content that you enjoy reading in those papers just by going to the business sections of Reuters, AP, Business Week, and your local "Business News" franchise. If you like a particular writer then they probably have a blog that covers much of the same subject.

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My local lousy newspaper wants $15/month and I just laugh.
Star-Advertiser lost me for life with their paywall. It forced me to discover "alternative" news sources like Pacific Business News, Civil Beat, and Ian Lind's blog. I still go to the S-A's front page to read the breaking news, but after that I can find whatever I want at their AP links and their Hawaii News Now links.

I thought I'd miss some local writers like Susan Scott and "Kokua Line". The answer turns out to be "not enough to pay to read them".
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:59 PM   #27
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I don't think that I would ever pay for online news because online mews has always been free as far as I am concerned. If I want to hold the paper in my hand, I can always stroll down to the public library and read away.

OTOH, I don't seem to mind spending over $20/month to read to subscribe to the local rag.

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Old 07-14-2012, 03:35 PM   #28
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Interesting how this discussion ties in neatly with the podcast in this thread:

www.early-retirement.org/forums/f28/the-cost-value-of-free-62172.html

The Planet Money team talks about different kinds of free goods/services and how people view them differently. Quite interesting.

Edit: Oops, I clearly don't know how to properly reference one thread from another. But the link should work OK.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:43 PM   #29
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I was making do on the NYT's free 20 articles a month but they dropped it to 10. About the time they did that (May?), I became a college student again. The student rate is $7.50 per month after the first month for 99 cents. I consider $7.50 to be a fair price so I signed up. I think the regular subscription price is double the student price and I don't see myself paying that.

Amazon convinced me to sign up for Amazon Prime because students get 6 months free and then a reduced rate. Seems like it's to get addicted to Amazon Prime.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:27 PM   #30
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Given what I perceive as the death of independent investigative journalism during our lifetimes, newspapers are not worth those prices to me.
That's why I buy our local paper (the Dayton Daily News). I want a bunch of busybodies investigating corruption in city hall, letting me know about big interests buying zoning changes, the new red light cameras and the controversies surrounding them, etc. It's well worth it to me to buy the paper just to support this staff of reporters. And they seem to be doing an okay job of ferreting this stuff out in this paper, and are marketing their successes. The local coupons and the free/low cost events I learn about through reading the paper pay for the subscription. I think we'd be worse off as a town if our newspaper stopped publishing a daily edition, so I subscribe. To me, it's like supporting NPR: I don't agree with them editorially, but I want them around and there's no one else covering things the way they do.

For national news: WSJ delivered every day to my door for $99/year. It's a promotional rate, but I re-up every year. And I like the idea that I'm surporting their reporting staff, too.

"Pulling" news from blogs, etc is okay, but a "push" system assures you receive things you wouldn't otherwise think to retrieve.
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Old 07-14-2012, 05:20 PM   #31
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I hate hard copy newspapers because the are huge and unwieldy. I'm considering a digital WSJ subscription, but it's a bit too pricey for my taste. Also, they won't let you buy single edition digital, it's either the full subscription or nothing. Boo.

Perhaps we should suck it up and spend the money. If we don't support the journalists we have left we'll be stuck as gossip masquerading as news.

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Old 07-14-2012, 05:20 PM   #32
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A year of WSJ home delivery is available to new subscribers for about 3200 airline miles.
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Old 07-14-2012, 05:54 PM   #33
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My aunt subscribes to the local newspaper which now charges $26/month for seven days a week delivery. That isn't the only cost though since about a year and a half ago they stopped the weekly TV insert on Sunday. She now has to subscribe to that separately at the 'special' rate of $69 or so a year.

I read the daily newspaper in the morning at the community center after I exercise. It's one of my luxuries since I've retired and don't have to hurry off to a job. I also purchase the Sunday paper ($2) on Saturday mainly for the coupon inserts. Delivery of the Sun. paper costs more than the newstand price and they don't deliver till about 8am on Sunday so that doesn't work for me. When they have subscription drives and I tell them why I won't they never have any answers. I think they are choosing to go extinct.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:24 PM   #34
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Folks...having been in the media business for 30 years I can tell you that the creation of content is not cheap whether it be televsion, newspapers, etc. "Free" seldom creates a very sustainable business proposition. As more readers move to the internet as opposed to buying the actual paper revenues drop not only in terms of subscriptions but also advertising....hence the charge for online access.

That being said if you can get by with the limited viewing offered by papers such as the NY Times, WSJ, FT, LA Times etc....more power to you.

Buy a Sunday only subscription, use it for kitty litter and read unlimited on line articles!
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:43 PM   #35
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Forgot to mention that we do subscribe to the local paper. Need to know about the stranger side of our city.

Also what would I do when I need the paper to catch my beard shaving's every morning?

Plus if you put the newpaper under your garbage bag it soaks up the excess so the garbage bag doesn't disintegrate on the bottom.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:46 PM   #36
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I get all the news, sports, travel and financial news I want free from various sources online. Well not totally free as I pay for the internet service, but you get my drift. My mom subscribes to the local paper and it takes me less than 5 minutes to thumb through it. And 75% of that time is spent reading the funnies.

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Old 07-14-2012, 08:02 PM   #37
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That's why I buy our local paper (the Dayton Daily News). I want a bunch of busybodies investigating corruption in city hall, letting me know about big interests buying zoning changes, the new red light cameras and the controversies surrounding them, etc. It's well worth it to me to buy the paper just to support this staff of reporters. And they seem to be doing an okay job of ferreting this stuff out in this paper, and are marketing their successes. The local coupons and the free/low cost events I learn about through reading the paper pay for the subscription. I think we'd be worse off as a town if our newspaper stopped publishing a daily edition, so I subscribe. To me, it's like supporting NPR: I don't agree with them editorially, but I want them around and there's no one else covering things the way they do.

For national news: WSJ delivered every day to my door for $99/year. It's a promotional rate, but I re-up every year. And I like the idea that I'm surporting their reporting staff, too.

"Pulling" news from blogs, etc is okay, but a "push" system assures you receive things you wouldn't otherwise think to retrieve.
That is a very good point. If the journalism side dies off from lack of money, that only leaves the tv reporters as the community watchdogs.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:34 AM   #38
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Our local paper offers 20 free online articles per month. When you get down to 5 left, they try to get you to subscribe. I soon figured out that their counter was held in their cookie. Delete the cookie and the counter resets to zero.

Cable TV - maybe my memory is failing me again, but wasn't one of selling points of cable TV was that their programming was going to be commercial-free? If so, how did that work out for ya? I understand the networks having commercials, but pay channels? I am paying for the right to watch commercial interruptions on cable?
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:42 AM   #39
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Now, how to get local tv news to suffer the same fate... I'm so sick of their sensationalist garbage.

"Who's stealing your children? Tune in, at 11!"
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:11 AM   #40
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We dropped our newspaper delivery & subscription in 2000 soon after we retired:

1. The paper was lousy about stopping delivery when we traveled and we quickly got fed up. That's what made us stop.
2. My husband discovered how much free time he had in the morning if he didn't have a paper to read. I would usually only read the weekend editions.
3. The local paper had an free online version by then and it was pretty complete.

We never looked back. What a relief not to have a local paper.

Our neighbors get us to collect their papers when they travel for short periods, and they are always amazed when we return them unread. For them, that does not compute. They couldn't believe we weren't getting the local paper either.

We get all our news online now. Can't stand TV news either. Occasionally go to major news sources if there is something of interest, but otherwise ignore it. Yay!
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