Bezos, Washington Post Announce Subscription Share Plan

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Bezos, Washington Post Announce Subscription Share Plan
By Szk7788 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

In an effort to reach out to more readers and build its subscriber base, new owner of the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, opened up access to its website and mobile applications to subscribers of six other newspapers.

The partners

The program will allow paying subscribers of the Dallas Morning News, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and The Toledo Blade to have full access to the Washington Post. The newspaper’s president and general manager, Steve Hills, said that the Post will benefit from the extra online traffic even though it will not open another revenue stream. Presumably, readers will be allowed to enjoy the Post’s content until its taken away from them and they will need to sign up for a subscription. Presently, a digital subscription to the Post costs $99 for a year, or $9.99 every month.

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The former stomping ground of Woodward and Bernstein has seen its readership shrink dramatically, as the industry as a whole has, over the last decade. At 431,521, the newspaper’s weekday circulation is only a fraction of where it was in 2003. The print edition today sees 41% less people enjoying the physical feel of the paper according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

Amazon Prime next?

Jeff Bezos “wanted to make it easy for its partners,” to up its readership according to Hills. While The Post won’t see any direct money from the partnership, it may be able to charge more for its online ads if it’s able to get the subscription base of the six papers (1.5 million) to visit The Post’s website on a regular basis.

Another potential source for a boosted readership could be Amazon Prime subscribers. Last week, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) raised the price of an annual subscription from $79 to $99 but millions will still subscribe. Bezos is certainly in a position to allow these millions partial or complete access to the paper he purchased for $250 million last year from the Graham family who owned it for over 80 years.

“We’re open to conversations with a broad range of people, and that would include Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN),” Hills said.

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