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Friday, July 20, 2012

The price of not much is going up

A reader writes:

We received a notice from the Oregonian that our subscription rate is being raised from $36 to $48 (I think it is for two months). Unbelievable. They are going to lose lots of subscribers over this one. Unfortunately for them, the Oregonian has no clue how to run a business. You don't raise prices when your volume is down, you lower them. They seem to have a public sector mentality about it all. They seem to think that they need 'X' in revenue and they have 'Y' subscribers so all they have to do is change their rate to 'Z' to cover it. It sure looks like a death spiral to me.

We've been getting the daily delivered free to our house for a little over a week now. So far, it just doesn't seem like a rewarding enough experience to pay for. And we've really lost the habit of reading news, especially local news, on paper. It feels awkward. Certainly, the kids will never do it.

Even with the Sunday New York Times, which we still pay to have brought to the house in hard copy, we don't find ourselves on the news pages much. Mostly we're into the magazine and the feature sections.

Anyway, if the O thinks that after our free trial we're going to sign up for another $24-a-month bill, they're wasting time and money. Unfortunately, nowadays the insatiable maw of Comcast leaves no twenties lying around in our information budget.

Comments (11)

Sure, they might want you to sign up, but their main motivation is more likely geared toward just having more subscribers. The only way to sell advertising is to promise the add will hit a certain amount of households. Sort of like the Tri-Met ridership numbers which can tend to be a little misleading, but exist to sell mass transit to the unwitting.

How about $12 mo? They'll negotiate. After 6 months or so the price will creep up again, you cancel (or offer to) and then start over at $12.

I have never successfully negotiated with the Oregonian subscriptions people. I'd love to know Mr. Tightwad's trick.

I once offered to pay for an entire year upfront. They quoted me a higher price! They said the special low price was only for people on monthly autopay.

Try stopping subscription, then signing up for their version of weekender.... Friday, Saturday and Sunday papers, plus FoodDay or whatever it's called. I've had that the past few months for under $10 a month, only they've been delivering the paper every day.

Ditch cable; I did in favor of just Internet. Don't miss it much. If I have a show I want to watch, I buy it on Amazon. Much cheaper.

Of course, this only works as savings if you're not hooked on a lot of shows.

No sorry, raising prices, when business is "down" is an intelligent move. The psychology revolves around the notion that if we charged more, the "perceived value", to the consumer, will increase also. In many business models - including mine - raising the "cost of service" sees a direct increase in volume, and the business bottom line.

That may be true in some business models, but not many. The Oregonian has been continually raising their prices for the last several years and the paper continues to shrink and they continue to layoff more staff.

If raising prices stimulates volume, then all the Big 3 automakers would have had to do three years ago was charge more. It would have pulled them right out.... not.

Well I have personal 'issues' in relations with The O specifically, and the NYT somewhat. I know persons of it (them) and am antagonistic for reasons and motives aside from the actual product, content and page counts, etc. Without getting into the details, I don't pay subscription regardless of price changes; if it were free to me I'd still stay free of it.

However, the business aspects of the situation catches my interest. Similarly in other (non-media) businesses, (my interest), for the last 6 months or more.
Conventionally, for decades, businesses managed a good degree of continuity thru upturns and downturns of revenue streams, availing themselves of a line of credit at the bank for operating contingencies short term, in the range of, say, 6 to 36 months.

What has caught my interest in The Data this year is the spike of businesses being destroyed or failing, caused by lines of credit being cancelled, arbitrarily(?), summarily, and unilaterally by "the bank" and bankers.

My theory in conclusion, on which I am basing my facts, is that the Fed.Reserve is 'under orders' and giving orders (to subsidiary banks) to cancel lending, to damage the economy (cramp business to curtail hiring), to handicap Obams's re-election approval numbers. (Oddly this time, one side down (Obama) has NOT resulted in the other (Romney) side going up.)

So where or who is 'over' the Fed.Reserve passing orders 'down' to it? IMF? World Bank? The LIBOR crimes (insider rigging and private profiteering) shows another symptom (clue?) of systemic malignant development. (Discussed in many serious credible venues as 'the intrinsic or inexorable failure of pure capitalism.' Which is Marx & Engels's prediction; capitalism inevitably consumes itself, and collapses hollowed out, rotten in its core precept.) And that's the World Economy we're talking about (IMF, World Back, LIBOR, a planetary 'reserve currency' in 'petrodollars', and such) collapsing.

At the local level it is local banks cutting off local businesses (e.g., The O) without operating capital to cushion a dip or falloff in business, and poof! gone bust, out of business. So was it because of a bad (uninformative, insubstantial) newspaper product, unsaleable content? somebody stole the cash drawer, an inside job? Or did they get vaporized put out-of-business by the effect of a phone call from Geneva Switzerland ordering the Fed Chairman to pull credit and lending restrictions to a strangulation tightness?

My theory blames Geneva-ilk. Data show Rothschild is the richest family in the world. or tied with the Saud family of Wahhabists. (Google around 'Rothschild' and 'Ibn Saud'.) And/or consider

Have you seen the well-to-do Up and down Park Avenue On that famous thoroughfare With their noses in the air

High hats and narrow collars
White spats and lots of dollars
Spending every dime
For a wonderful time

If you're blue
And you don't know where to go to
Why don't you go where Harlem flits
Puttin' on the Ritz

Dressed up like a million dollar trooper
Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper

Come, let's mix where Rockefellers
Walk with sticks or "umberellas"
In their mitts
Puttin' on the Ritz

and this:
Rothschilds buy into Rockefeller wealth business, Wed May 30, 2012

LONDON (Reuters) - Two of the most storied names in global finance are linking up, with Europe's Rothschild banking dynasty agreeing to buy a stake in the Rockefeller group's wealth and asset management business to gain a long-sought foothold in the United States.

Rothschild's London-listed RIT Capital Partners said on Wednesday it was buying a 37 percent stake in Rockefeller ... for an undisclosed sum.

The transatlantic union brings together David Rockefeller, 96, and Jacob Rothschild, 76 - two family patriarchs whose personal relationship spans five decades ....

Data. jus sayin "wealth business" !??

Moreover, non-Data:

REPORT: Media Prioritize Animal Attacks, Tom Cruise Over HUGE Bank Scandal, July 19, 2012, BEN DIMIERO & ROB SAVILLO, Media Matters blog

Instead of covering one of the largest banking scandals in history, American television news outlets have focused on the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, shark sightings, and a chimpanzee attack.

Last week, we documented how television news outlets are practically ignoring an emerging controversy over whether major financial institutions have been manipulating the LIBOR, a key interest rate banks use to borrow money from each other ....

I'm glad I'm not the only one to notice the similarities between the O's business model and Trimet's.

Some folks posting here don't understand that The Oregonian isn't in the business of providing information to as many people as possible, i.e. having the largest possible circulation. The Oregonian is in the business of making the most money it possibly can. Raising prices such that the revenue increases even with circulation declines (and let's not forget circulation declines cause declines in operational expense with little, if any decline in ad revenue) might well keep The Oregonian in business.

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