When I subscribed to the NY Times a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that they had recently dropped their prices. I had gone looking for any articles that might mention when and why they had done that, but didn’t find any. (For some reason, I’m interested in the economics of pricing on digital vs physical goods, like ebooks, music, and newspaper subscriptions. In addition to just wanting to get a good deal for myself.)
There’s an article on Mashable today noting the new pricing, as available in the iOS apps. The article says that it’s an “iOS only offer”, but I know that I saw pretty much the same rates on the web when I subscribed, with the addition of the extra 30% off for the first year. And it seems like the offer showed up in the app only within the last few days, but I know that I saw it in the app at least three weeks ago. And I just checked now, and if I open a new private browsing window in Firefox and look at the Times subscription page, it shows the old tiered rates ($3.75, $5, and $8.75 a week, for phone, tablet, and all-digital tiers).
So, basically, I think the Times is messing around with targeted pricing for different people on different platforms. They probably had data on me that showed me using the iPhone and iPad apps occasionally, and the web frequently, and saw that I’d been looking at the subscription page on and off but never actually subscribing. So they tossed different offers at me until I went ahead and subscribed. Even though I block a lot of tracking stuff with Privacy Badger, I had generally been leaving myself logged in to the NY Times site (and apps), even before I had a paid subscription. So I’m sure they have data on my usage of their site and apps.
And I guess they decided to throw the cheaper all-digital rate at all iOS app users and see what happens. I know that the Times has a lot more paid digital subscribers than most other papers, and they’ve been fairly successful at getting people to pay for their content. It will be interesting to see how this stuff plays out over the next few years.