Newspaper Subscription Hike Planned…Except for Newbies?


I received a nice email about a newspaper subscription hike. But it’s what I saw on the paper’s website that made me cancel renewal.

My local paper sent me a nice email the other day. It thanked me for being a subscriber. It listed some of the big stories it covered over the last year. Then it talked about the rising costs of doing business as a prelude to news of a newspaper subscription hike.

Sure, I understand. Newspapers are struggling. Everything costs more.

But everything costs more for us customers as well. Everyone wants $5 more or $10 more or $20 more per month. Sooner or later, something has to give.

I support local journalism, as should be obvious since I work in that field. Our paper is a good paper. I hate to see so many of them in such financial trouble these days.

I definitely understand the need for a newspaper subscription hike based on the cost of doing business.

In this case, my subscription, which is set to renew in October, will be going up to $199 per year. (That’s the digital-only subscription. The carrier in my area had such a problem actually placing a physical paper at my door that I gave up on that a long time ago.) My folks canceled theirs over the same problem.

So it’ll be $199 per year. Hmm. What had it been last year? That seemed like an obvious question for me.

So I went to the paper’s website…

Right there on the front page bigger than the small log-in button was a menu of subscription options. Understandable. Obviously, they want people to subscribe and they need to build their subscriber base.

Of three options, the middle one was highlighted in red as a “reader’s choice,” listed a yearly digital-only subscription at $119 for the first year.

I get it. New customers always get a better deal.

But below that, in smaller type, was this line:

renewing at $155/yr

Well if their second year isn’t the regular price, why is mine going up?

I did look at what I paid for the past few years. Two years ago, I paid $155. Last year, the paper hiked the price to $175. This year, it’ll be $199. But newbies get a discount from two years ago?

I understand giving a big discount to first-timers. Apartment complexes do this every day. There are always move-in deals. Meanwhile, those of us who have been there for years aren’t getting that discount any longer. As quickly as they think they can get away with it, landlords elevate rents to reach “market value.” But from what I’ve seen, the longer you stay, the more you pay. It takes longer for first-time renters to reach the same price tag.

In other words, they’re penalizing loyal customers in favor of newbies.

Not for me, thanks.

I turned off the “auto-renew” option for my subscription. I’m not going to pay an extra $44 just because I’m not a “new” subscriber. Fair is fair. But as important as I consider loyalty to be, I certainly won’t be charged extra for it.

Would you have a problem with a newspaper subscription hike that seems to target those who’ve been ongoing customers?

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.