You may think you’re saving money by ordering The New York Times online only. You would be wrong. An all-digital subscription actually costs quite a bit more than any of the print/digital combinations, even with all of those dead trees, delivery costs and so on. While trying to choose a subscription, we were surprised to find that would-be Times readers pay more NOT to have the paper delivered, but you might not realize this because the Home Delivery and All Digital Access rates are on two separate pages. Here’s how they break down:*
|Home Delivery Options (includes ALL Digital Access)||Price/Week|
|Daily Delivery (7 Days)||$6.05|
|The Weekender (Friday–Sunday)||$3.95|
|Digital Option only||Price/Week|
|NYTimes.com + Smartphone||$3.75|
|NYTimes.com + Tablet||$5.00|
|All Digital Access||$8.75|
Any print delivery option comes with unrestricted “All Digital Access” for computer, smartphone, tablet and your mooching family members. So that means if you pay as little as $3.25 for the Monday through Friday delivery, you get exactly what $8.75 a week buys you, plus about 10 pounds of compost filler delivered to your front door every week. With the Digital Only option, you’re essentially paying more for the privilege of not receiving the paper.
If you’re a college student or a teacher, the deal is flipped upside-down. Here’s the price breakdown for the special NYTimes in College Program:
|College Delivery Options||Price/Week|
|Daily Delivery (7 Days)||$6.35|
|The Weekender (Friday–Sunday)||$3.00|
|College Digital Options||Price/Week|
|NYTimes.com + Smartphone||$1.88|
|NYTimes.com + Tablet||$2.50|
|All Digital Access||$4.38|
If you’re a student (or can fake it) and only have one type of device, you can get digital access for just $100/year, whereas the home delivery option is slightly more expensive than the civilian rate. I suppose they’re betting on our current crop of college kids always going digital.
SO WHICH ONE?
The New York Times is probably making much more off of their print advertising, so to maintain their rate base they’re subsidizing print subscriptions. The only way they’ll ever make the full shift to digital is if they can make more money in that area.
Of course, we here at Brokelyn are pragmatists. If a company wants to give you more for way less moolah, go for it! And besides, newspaper keeps you warmer on a park bench better than an iPad would. It also makes for last-minute wrapping paper, fish and/or chip holders, nail polish patterns and padding for roller hockey goalies. Just please don’t circumvent the paywall. Journalists need bread, too.
Follow Conal: @ConalDarcy.