I stopped subscribing to The Denver Post a few months ago, in part to experiment with reading it online through iGoogle and in part because I was getting so much more satisfaction from reading The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
The online experiment was scary, at least for a person who still loves newspapers. I discovered that it was pretty easy to live without the print edition and that although the iGoogle version wasn't the best experience, it gave me enough connection to Colorado news that I didn't feel like I needed more. I could read my favorite columnists on Google Reader, and I could pick up a lot of headlines on the radio or TV. I wasn't missing the satisfying reads that you occasionally find in the Post, because I still was getting other good magazines and newspapers.
But I just signed up to become a regular subscriber again. Why? Because I got a call offering me a subscription for $5 a month, or as the vendor told me, $1.15 a week. I was promised this fee would hold for a year, and that I could pay month by month, canceling at any time.
$1.15 a week. This from an industry that is shouting about how it needs to be paid for online content. I'm not sure what's driving the paper's decision to discount so heavily. But it tells me that an industry that regularly touts how valuable its content is still can't get over the need for high volume circulation and will go to great lengths to get it, even if it means sending the message that its content isn't anywhere near as valuable as it says it is. A conundrum that the industry is going to have to figure out.
Either its content is valuable or it isn't. And my latest subscription price tells me the latter is true, no matter what industry leaders say when they're trying to take it to the chins of Web competitors.