Monday, November 15, 2010

Pay per view newspapers?

Several months ago, when the powers that be at the Cape Cod Times made it public that they were planning to convert their online newspaper to a subscription service, I grimaced.

My daily online CCT reading ritual is to scan the list of articles, reading two or three of them, then reading the district court log (makes for good discussion if any of my clients or their kids have been arrested), editorial, letters to the editor, and the My View column.

How much can this be worth?

How about $180 a year?

Seems like a lot. After all, there are other newspapers still free online, but no dailies that deal with Cape Cod. And don’t tell me about Cape Cod Today. That blog is the biggest piece of crap I’ve ever seen masquerading as a legitimate news source. I haven’t given Walter the courtesy of a click in six months and never will.

I’m not against subscriptions for online material, per se. I’ve had a Wall Street Journal Online subscription since they first started it years ago. And I’m constantly on Consumer Reports Online to compare weed eaters and microwave popcorn.

But $180 a year? My Wall Street Journal subscription sets me back $155 a year, although they offer a “pro” online subscription for $455 a year. As much as joining their exclusive professional readers’ club would boost my sagging self image, I think I’ll pass.

Consumer Reports Online, on the other hand, is $19 a year. Now that’s a deal. And, according to Consumer Reports, it’s the best in category, sporting all red, filled-in circles, beating Consumer Digest hands down.

My decision?

I signed up for the unlimited access subscription to the Cape Cod Times. I really do need to read it, especially considering my new responsibilities as state representative, but I’m not getting the print edition. I canceled that after our dog died and it became clear that Mary was not willing to take on the fetching responsibility.


  1. I would love to see that field research that the CCT is relying on to pursue this fee based, on line, business plan.

    The Boston Globe, NY Times and other, larger papers with (probably) better and larger tech-friendly and tech-disposed target audiences has yet to fully enter the pay for content web space that the CCT is targeting.

    I doubt that the CCT knows something these publishing behemoths don’t.

    The CCT is dying; albeit slowly. Wringing incremental revenues from a rapidly decreasing readership is but another sign of demise not enterprise.

    I’d bet in less than 24 months either (a) the fee plan will be eliminated or (b) both the paper and web will report noticeable readership declines. Any Takers?

  2. The only reason I read the Cape Cod times is for letters to the editor, news about our failing school system, Sandwich scandal and the advice columns. I think the best way to describe the Cape Cod Times is "CRA)P".

    Randy, tell me you were joking about Mary lest your next political opponent reads it and passes it on.

    Braless 32A

  3. Braless 32A: It is a fact that Mary is not willing to go out and fetch the paper. :)

    Keep in mind that posts marked "Humor" often contain humor.

  4. Good Afternoon Mr> Hunt, If I was Mary I would not like to get the morning paper as well.

    Given the walk is like going to a long walk through the woods.

    One could devise a clothes line pully to bring it in, then you all will be happy, except you would need to determine how to do it.

    Carl Johansen

  5. Weed eaters aren't nearly as tasty as microwave popcorn. You don't need CR to tell ya that.

    I will pay for the CCTimes online when pigs fly.


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