Thursday, December 24, 2009

Times-Union 33% closer to oblivion

I noticed that the Albany Times-Union is jacking up the price of its daily edition by 33% to $1 effective next week.

With newspaper sales plummeting due to rapidly deteriorating quality and changing readership habits, doubling the price of such a product in only a few years hardly seems like a wise business decision.

The only sense it makes is if it's intended to drive T-U readers toward the paper's decent website. The website no doubt generates less ad revenue than the print edition but also has significantly lower costs.

People involved in the physical production of a print newspaper are far more likely to be unionized than the tech people who maintain a website. So perhaps it's also an attempt by the paper to finally break its unions by directing people to the website. The Albany Newspaper Guild is urging a boycott of the daily as part of its dispute with the paper.

T-U editor Rex Smith, a regular participant on WAMC's Media Project, has steadfastly insisted that newspaper websites are a drain on resources. But the situation is pretty sketchy. Why would they further alienate their paying customers with yet another price rise when a free, supposedly money-losing alternative, is easily available?

1 comment:

John Warren said...

Hilarious. It's amazing how the old-school media people are doing acrobatics to explain the situation they're in. I heard a pathetic ad for the Times Unions blogs on WAMC Vox Pop a while ago. Two people, pretending the only blogs that were out there were run by newspapers. Now that was funny.