Home delivery cost advantage disappears in October

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Daily home delivery subscribers to the New Orleans Times-Picayune have always enjoyed not only the convenience of curbside delivery but also a significant cost advantage over the price of the paper at the newsstand. That will end when the T-P goes to three-day-a-week delivery in October 2012.

In the past, daily home delivery costed 1/3 less than the newsstand price, but it will now cost 12% more. Here are the figures (note that for this analysis I have not included the Monday “Saints” issues in the cost figures since that will likely be the sole topic of those issues):

As shown, the newsstand cost of the Sunday paper will remain a bargain (28% less) compared to the cost of Sunday-only home delivery.

For the mathematically curious, here are the calculations:

Old Daily

Delivery: $18.95/month x 12 months / 365 issues = $0.62/issue

Newsstand: (($0.75/Mon-Sat issue x 6 issues/week x 52 weeks)+($2.00/Sunday issue x 52 weeks)/364 issues) = $0.93/issue

New Daily

Delivery: $16.95/month x 12 months / 156 issues = $1.30/issue

Newsstand: (($0.75/Wed&Fri issue x 2 issues/week x 52 weeks)+($2.00/Sunday issue x 52 weeks))/156 issues = $1.17/issue

Sunday Only

Delivery: $12.00/month x 12 months / 52 issues = $2.77 per issue

Newsstand: $2.00 per issue

Implications:

  • Daily home delivery will continue to be more convenient than purchasing every issue at the newsstand.

But

  • It will be more economical to pick and choose which issues you want to buy at the newsstand, especially if all you want is the Sunday paper.

 Sources:


Times-Picayune subscription cost will increase by 87%

Is it worth it?

In October 2012 the per-issue cost of a daily subscription to the New Orleans Times-Picayune will increase by 87%. Why? Because both the number of subscribers, and, more importantly, the advertising revenue that is the lifeblood of any newspaper, have declined significantly over a number of years.

The privately owned T-P doesn’t release advertising revenue figures, but new publisher Ricky Mathews has said that the paper’s print ad revenue has declined significantly, which is in line with what’s happening on a national basis, where nationwide newspaper print ad revenue figures for 2012 will probably show about a 64% decline since 2000, based on figures available on the Newspaper Association of America website through 1Q2012.

Here are the details:

Note that I’m being generous on the number of issues beginning in 2012 by including the special Monday “Saints” issues that will be produced during the New Orleans Saints season, even though the content will likely be completely devoted to reporting and analysis of the previous weekend’s Saints game and will not include normal news content. If those issues are excluded, the number of issues drops to 156, and the cost per issue goes up to $1.30, resulting in an increase of 110%.

Here’s the same information in graphical form:

So, given the competitive nature of the news business and the plethora of news outlets of all kinds, many of which are free, the question is, “Is it worth it to continue to pay for a daily print subscription to the Picayune?” I’ll be exploring that question in future posts.