The Kansas City Star refers to it simply as a “rate adjustment.”
Others might refer to it by another, stronger, term.
Either way, the McClatchy-owned paper has “adjusted” its Wednesday through Sunday subscription rates for home delivery from $117 last year to $169.49 this year.
That is an astounding increase of 44.9%!
Keep in mind, this increase comes at a time when the newspaper has lost more than half of its editorial staffers and subscribers in the past decade, seen the overall size and editorial content shrink to levels never before seen, and outsourced many jobs to foreign countries.
Many of its leading columnists such as Jeffrey Flanagan, Jason Whitlock and Joe Posnanski are long gone. TV critic Aaron Barnhart has not written a word in 2012..
A representative of the Star’s Customer Service Department says the $117 was an introductory rate for new customers. The 45% increase is simply a rate adjustment.
Ironically, in the Thursday edition of the Star is a special offer “Reserved for the readers of The Kansas City Star” from the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ is offering 6-day delivery (as opposed to the Star’s 5-day delivery) for $119.88.
Newspaper veterans know the tricks to avoid the Star’s lofty increase. First, stop the paper for one month. At that point the Star’s circulation folks will begin bombarding you relentlessly with calls. You then can re-subscribe again as a “new” customer at the $117 rate. Many customers have been doing this for years to avoid outlandish rate increases.
It seems a silly process to go through and a risky marketing strategy for the newspaper. In reality, the paper loses a month of subscriber income and then it can only hope that its loyal customers do not get out of the habit of receiving the newspaper or do not choose to subscribe to USA Today, the Wall St. Journal or any other publication.
It is a risk the Kansas City Star seems willing to take.