Friday, October 11, 2013

R.I.P. USA Today

USA Today signed itself out of business when it doubled its daily cover price from a buck to two dollars. One will now spend about $500 a year -- instead of $250 -- to read just one publication. They’ve just priced themselves out of the marketplace.

I’m sure there is a strategy behind the move but I’m afraid it is one of desperation. Raising prices never beings in new customers, and when you raise them significantly, rather than gradually, you dare them to shop elsewhere.

Now, that said, I enjoy reading many papers everyday and USA Today is one of them. The media is my business so I need to keep up. Plus, I’m a news junkie. I won’t stop buying the colorful newspaper BUT many others will.

Doubling prices likely will mean huge reader erosion. How can a paper grow by cutting readers and offering less to advertisers? It’s bad enough the paper is thinner than toilet paper and getting lighter by the day, but it musn’t alienate its readership with a 100% price increase:

Is this how print will phase itself out? Will other papers follow the trend and start charging more while delivering less? There are many eBooks available for less than the single copy cover price of USA Today.

Soon USA Today will become USA Yesterday and nothing would make me sadder. But it’s inevitable if their response to the online media competition is to dramatically raise the cover price then that’s exactly what will happen.

Where’s the creativity to market the newspaper better? Why don’t they improve sales distribution, create new partnerships, repackage content online, and take steps to market their products and services to their subscription base?

It’s a shame that a leading brand like USA Today just allows itself to disintegrate.

RIP USA Today. It was fun while it lasted.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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