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Friday, February 24, 2012

To our readers

A Portlander writes:

The Oregonian delivered a price increase -- starting next month it's going up to $26 per month for direct pay -- not quite a 20% increase from the current rate.

This reminds us that it's time to raise our subscription rates as well. And so effective March 1, the price you pay us to view this blog is increasing by 19.7%. We apologize, but our costs just keep escalating.

Comments (34)

And well worth every penny of it, by gum.

When can we expect a paper edition of this blog?

I can afford your price hike because my salary doubled also, from the same base.

They are well past the inflection point where customer losses more than out weigh unit price increases. TriMet is in that same situation. They would increase revenues by lowering the price.

It's like print newspaper hara-kiri without the honor or the tanto.

I cancelled my subscription to the O at the end of last June. Now $26? There's practically nothing left to the paper - it's pathetically thin most days.

Maybe they should do what the paper in Detroit did: stop putting out a paper edition on Mon. & Tues. - only online.

I'm pretty sure the extra dough will not be going to experienced reporter's salaries.

Maybe those plastic, one use bags are getting more expensive now that the manufacturers no longer can sell those plastic bags to Portland grocery stores.

Anyone besides ME recall the Oregonian demanding grocery stores be banned from using those same bags the "O" uses every day?

In Business School, they refer to that cycle of: drop in sales, increased fixed costs, failed efforts to raise retail prices that result in a drop in sales...as the "DEATH SPIRAL" of a mature and dying business.

Maybe they should sell the Oregonian by the pound. No, that wouldn't work since Monday's edition is only about four pages as it is. do you think renaming it, "The Portland Shopper" would work?

Besides, did you ever notice if you ever want to know the entire story cut and pasted in the "O", you need to read the comment section? (WHICH IS NOT IN THE PRINTED VERSION).

This is the sad phase that every outmoded business goes through. You saw/see the same thing with pay phones: fewer people using them because of newer technology, so they raise prices, which causes more people to abandon them for newer technology, etc. Newspaper revenue is mostly based on ads, not subscriptions. How they think they'll sell more ad space by pointing to lower subscription numbers, I have no idea.

I put the O on vacation hold and they failed to stop delivering the paper for over 2 weeks. I then completely cancelled the subscription and they have continued to deliver it everyday, now over another 2 weeks. The O is a very incompetent organization.

If it weren't for the cross word puzzles and Sudoku, I'd cancel. They've cut out my favorite comic strips and for the most part, they don't print much that isn't a PR release.

Richard, that's not incompetent. That's deliberate. I can't tell you the number of print magazines that keep sending me copies even though I let my subscription lapse years ago. The idea is that being able to tell advertisers that the publication's total circulation brings in more money than in an actual paid subscription. (My local paper, the Dallas Morning News, keeps getting into trouble over being overly enthusiastic about this. It's been busted for insisting that copies be delivered to vacant lots and empty fields, dumping armfuls of Sunday papers at laundromats, and other stunts frowned upon by its circulation auditors.)

F the O!

Believe it or not, the only thing I really miss about the print edition is the Sunday ad inserts, where I could look for sales and coupons.

Why can't some of our water bill payment subsidize free paper delivery at every Trimet stop. No boarding required to be fair. Paperboys would ride Trimet, and jump off and back on and deliver the paper to waiting customers. Win Win Win. More boarding statistics, reduced delivery cost for Trimet promotions, Transit Tracker could become necessary and maybe useful, and neighbors will bond while waiting for the O. The future is boundless: think USPS, DMV, healthcare, free lunch,Tricounty charrettes,.......

I just must jump back in since I've had a Bojack/Urbanplanner kind of running battle with the "O" for years.

The above example of the death of coin pay phones is a PERFECT analogy.

It's so easy to imagine the unseen hand of Accountants at the "O" with their spreadsheets giving advice at meetings with the board.

Their first impulse is to fire or encourage the departure of experienced reporters and columnists. MUCH cheaper to employ the tech savy recent grads with huge student loans to cut and paste press releases. As a result, we rarely get the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW and WHY of newsworthy stories. I'm convinced, today's reporter never leaves their desk. A criminal suspect could be in jail just a few blocks away with a great story, but unless the story can be cut and pasted, readers will never see it in the "O".

NEXT, the accountants then look for incentives to encourage NEW customers...using the cannibalistic model of cell phone subscribers. This means treating NEW customers better than your EXISTING and more profitable customers. If a longtime full price subscriber drops an Oregonian subscription they'll soon be offered a "NEW, HALF Price" trial. When the price increases, they'll drop it. THEN they'll be eligible for another DISCOUNTED rate.

In short, if the Oregonian wants to survive, ....oh heck....who cares?

And so effective March 1, the price you pay us to view this blog is increasing by 19.7%.

A better business model might be to let readers view your blog for free, and charge only to post - perhaps by word count.

I can think of a few commenters who would probably support this blog single-handedly.

You know who you are.

Dhughes actually has the right idea - TriMet and The Oregonian should partner together. It can even be sold together - get two great services (transit ride plus your morning newspaper) at one "low" price. TriMet gets a little slice of the revenue from The Oregonian having its newsboys or newsstands on the property; The O gets to pass out more newspapers - more readers, more ad revenue.

When TriMet needs to print new schedules, it'd just count on The Oregonian to include it with the newspaper.

Airlines see the in-flight magazines as revenue. They have to justify their existence - even accounting for the weight of the magazines on the aircraft and the fuel necessary to carry the magazine. And yet they make the airlines money (or else the airlines would stop the magazines). TriMet and The O could have a gold mine here.

You know who you are.

I like it!


Wow! How about a nickel a comment?

Wow! How about a nickel a comment?

We need brackets; those whose word counts exceed those of the 99% must PAY MORE!

Progressive Blogging Justice!

Occupy Bog's Blog!

Shouldn't it be 2 cents a comment?

What's a nickel?

I bet 49% won't pay anything.

You nailed it Mr. T.

Plus, a recursive recycling benefit is that if the O commits Seppuku it can use itself as its own tatami mat! (A joke about bleeding soy ink would be in bad taste, no?)

That reduce/reuse/recycle logo does look a bit like Ouroboros.

(Hmmm... afterward would it have to be placed in the Garbage, Recycling, or Compost bin?)

The O's downward spiral reminds me of TriMet. Less product = fewer customers = less profit, and so on. Not a winning business plan.

This actually might be (MIGHT be) a smart business move. Price increases generally lead to a set amount of loss of circulation volume, regardless of whether the increase is 5, 10 or even 20 percent. I don't work at The Oregonian, but have a number of years in the business. It MIGHT be The Oregonian's management is looking to get the most bang out of the price increase. It's doubtful there would be a large enough loss in circulation (let's face it - the marginal subscribers are long gone) to offset the "revenue enhancement" (a wonderful phrase borrowed from Howard Baker) from the price increase. Most ad revenue is not on a "per thousand circulation" basis anyway, so there would not be a decline in ad revenue relative to the decline in subscription revenue unless the circulation decline was large enough to lead advertisers elsewhere (again, not likely). So, this MIGHT be a wise move. Then again, it might be a knee jerk reaction to a bad set of quarterly numbers... who knows?

At the end of 2009, I was paying $13.95/month for my full-time Oregonian subscription. So we've got an 86% price increase in just over two years.

That's peanuts. The daily NYT is now $2.50.

You get a lot more for your money with the NY Times, although it's not perfect either. The failing Oregonian puts me in mind of my preferred daily, The Oregon Journal which was driven out of business by the big O, but which went with dignity.

Now, THERE was a good paper.

They have to pay for that failed computer upgrade somehow.

"At the end of 2009, I was paying $13.95/month for my full-time Oregonian subscription. So we've got an 86% price increase in just over two years."

Randy Leonard is advising them on pricing...

This is not about the Oregonian. Except for the Wall Street Journal, this is happening to almost all newspapers across the country. Subscriptions and ad revenues down; subscription prices up. A little bit sad because the O has actually gotten better in the last few years with its coverage of state political and economic issues (Harry Esteves at the head of a few).

The O even got it right this morning, questioning why PBOT is playing with road maintenance when there's no financial shortfall...because all the money is going elsewhere. I might just buy a Sunday Paper to support more good journalism rather than the typical rehashed press releases (especially when it comes to most stories about TriMet).

I found the loophole: if you tell the Oregonian that you DON'T want their paper, they'll keep dropping it on your driveway!

It might not be every day, but it's often enough, I promise.

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