Bloomberg reports that circulation has been declining in 21 out of 25 of the major newspapers the past six months. One newspaper increased circulation, and three got "N/A." Here's the lead paragraph:
Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. newspaper circulation declines steepened in the six months through September after publishers raised subscription and newsstand prices to help counter an advertising slump.
They raised prices and customers walked. The one exception was the Wall Street Journal about which they said the print-only drop was offset by online subscribers. However, here's a dirty little secret. The WSJ offered pretty good deals to lapsed subscribers.
Confessions of a WSJ reader -- I've been subscribing off and on since college days when the WSJ gave students a free subscription. But the price kept climbing. When my subscription expired this Spring the renewal rate was $441 for a year. Ouch. However, just the other day I got an offer I couldn't refuse -- a renewal rate of just under $120 per year.
So I'm getting the paper again. And it's a good lesson in marketing 101 -- raise the price high enough and lose customers. Lower the price enough and get them back.