Thursday, March 03, 2005

Straits Times revises online charges

Judging by the bloggers' tirades on Miyagisan's and MB's blogs, ST seems to have leapt from the frying pan, into the fire. The STi is now 50% cheaper than originally priced; it's now S$60 per year (provided you subscribe to their paper edition). I hate doing a slipshod blog but I'm really short of time tonight. So my mental notes on this issue as follows (in no proper order and may even sound incoherent) before I follow up with a better blog this weekend:
  • S$60 per year is supposedly cheaper than SCMP (as per my previous blog on this issue) but it's still more expensive than your sibling paper Business Times (BT) and the services have not improved e.g. access to archives.
  • This is really a knee-jerk reaction for another reason. Do you have an established system to track who your subscribers are? I really can't recall giving any e-mail address for paper subscriptions in the past, especially not to the newspaper delivery person.
  • Why do I say this? See how SCMP does this (with the paper subscription thing and all)? Doesn't it look more professional? National pride at stake here!
  • Maybe this is symptomatic with the general (purely my observation) Singaporean nature to just react or just "do it" without thinking through the issues and implications?
  • ST - Please take a few days to think this through.
  • ST - Oh one last thing, if the decision is still to charge for STi eventually at whatever price, I suggest some damage control to appease your peeved online readers who may also be your offline subscribers - pledge half of your first year online subscription income to one of the big online causes right now - The Dixon Fong Fund.
  • Note to self - I wonder if ST will knock on my door tomorrow, hire me as their STi strategic planning/marketing/PR consultant and pay me a nice big, fat bonus? :)))
  • Based on the economics of online advertisement (The Police State), if you're going to have a bigger readership, you can charge more for your advertisements. I assume BT has a smaller audience than The STi but probably publishes articles which are of greater financial value to their readers. Given that, should it still be more expensive for the STi?
  • Singapore Angle - HC, your point on the marketplace of ideas is not new albeit in a different context. In the software world, this is exactly what's happening between open source softwares (bloggers) and the dominant commercial softwares (MSM). I highly recommend "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" especially "Chapter 9: Necessary Preconditions for the Bazaar Style" to better understand what I'm referring to. It may help better crystalize some of the thoughts about "online editors", marketplace and what not.

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