Friday, December 30, 2011

Newspapers discover how to make money doing nothing

The newspaper industry has figured out how to get customers to pay for NOT receiving the paper.

In the past, newspapers would credit subscribers during a "vacation stop" for the days when the paper was not delivered.  This seems common sense -- no one should pay for a product they don't receive, right?

But that practice seems to be ending. Calls to the Los Angeles Times and Long Beach Press-Telegram confirm that those papers no longer give credit during a vacation stop. And online reports suggest that such papers as the Chicago Tribune and Salt Tribune have similarly changed their practice.

The representative with the Los Angeles Times said the no-credit policy has become the "industry standard."

Still, a representative of the New York Times said that paper does continue to offer a credit to subscribers during a vacation stop.

Newspapers that do adopt this practice are clearly gambling that most subscribers won't notice that they're paying for something they're not getting. Smart consumers could choose to cancel the paper when they go on vacation, and restart when they return. But given the many online news options, some consumers may not restart at all.

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