Here’s a puzzle for you: Reuters wrote up this article: WSJ Cuts Prices in Battle With New York Times, in which they report that the Journal slashed subscription rates by as much as 80%.80%? Really?
From Reuters: The newspaper, the first read for many in the business world, has mailed some Times subscribers an offer for home delivery for $10 per month, undercutting the $40 price that existing Times subscribers pay in the New York City area.
A virtually identical offer for $2.29 per week is available for new subscribers who apply online, though it excludes access to the Journal’s pay-to-see website. Existing Journal subscribers pay about $30 per month and get website access.
Reuters claims the scheme is an effort to squash the New York Times with their new New York City addition, reportedly set to debut on April 26.
But Ryan Chittum at Columbia Journalism Review does the maths and finds some faults in the story.
He notes that the Journal has had notoriously lower subscription rates than the New York Times for quite some time.
An 80% decrease to $10 a month would, in fact, mean that the original subscription rate was $600.
As the Journal told CJR, the full price for a print-only subscription is $363, (but with an introductory first-year rate of $119).
The 80% decrease that is advertised on the Journal’s subscription page is not a cut from subscription price to subscription price, but rather a cut from newsstand price to subscription price (the newsstand price for the paper, is someone bought it every day for a year, is $595.)
Also, the $10 monthly subscription is also not limited to Times subscribers, but to anyone who is interested in signing up online. Access to the print Journal is $2.29 a week.
While the numbers may not point to a direct assault on the New York Times, it does highlight a portion of the Wall Street’s Journal strategy to crush the Times.
But the Times isn’t worried. We contacted spokeswoman Diane McNulty:
The New York Times has faced competition on every newsstand and in every format, but we have a strong affinity with our readers and believe they will continue to select the New York Times.
Our distinctive New York coverage of everything from government and politics to culture, fashion, and business commands a deeply loyal and engaged audience in print and online that is almost three times the size of the Journal’s.
The Wall Street Journal did not return a request for comment.
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