About five years ago I took advantage of a free 6 month trial subscription to the Wall Street Journal. I have no interest in a paper copy, but I do value access to articles behind their pay wall. And I still have that access.
That’s because I suspend paper delivery of my subscription. You can do that for two months at a time. When they aren’t delivering the paper they aren’t decrementing the remaining days on your subscription you still have full access to website content.
Many people are more interested in the miles offered for trial subscriptions, and take advantage of various shopping portal signup offers. Right now for instance Frequent Miler points to a $1 offer for a two month Journal trial that earns 1000 American AAdvantage miles.
This offer should be around through Monday, October 15. The $1 isn’t refundable and you cannot cancel for at least 45 days — but as I say if you value website access you won’t want to. At the end of the trial they’d start charging you for a monthly subscription but why let yourself get there?
I’m not a daily Journal reader. There are myriad papers I’ll read a few articles a month from, largely linked via Google News which I check many times each day. I would be happy to support good journalism. The New York Times can sell enough subscriptions on its own to survive. However I wouldn’t mind paying a modest fee for the occasional article from smaller outlets.
- I hate recurring charges. I don’t want to build up expenses and I don’t want to track them.
- It’s not worth subscribing for just a few articles a month.
- The transaction costs to buy a single article are too high.
I suspect there are a lot of people like me who would pay for content if the transaction costs were lower, if it wasn’t so much of a pain. I come across local stories all the time I’d like to read but that are behind a pay wall. Local papers should be able to sell more effectively to the broader world.
Cable companies bundle channels effectively, but newspapers haven’t figured that out.
- Maybe you value CNN at $100 per year and ESPN at $10 per year.
- And your neighbor values ESPN at $100 per year and CNN at $10.
- If the cable company sold each channel for $99, they’d earn $99 from each of you and you’d each get one channel.
- But by selling a bundle of CNN and ESPN for $109, the cable company gets $10 more dollars from each of you and you each get two channels.
Someone needs to figure out a way of bundling access to newspapers in a single subscription with single sign on. Until then I’ll keep taking great mileage signup offers and accessing content free even though I’d be willing to pay. Whomever does figure this out should do very well for themselves and could potentially save journalism at the same time.