Never have the two East Coast news rivals shared tighter quarters.
In a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog, Dallas Morning News Publisher & CEO Jim Moroney said of the arrangement: “Is it a game-changing revenue stream for us? No, but it can be a material and important one.” The paper will be charging $1.99 per week for the New York Times supplement and 99 cents for The Washington Post version. A revenue share arrangement will reward the Times and The Post. “They make more the more of those we sell,” says Moroney. As of March 31, the Dallas Morning News had 363,129 Sunday print and digital subscribers.
In recent years, both the Times and The Post have thrown up paywalls that minimize the amount of free content people can grab for free off of NyTimes.com and WashingtonPost.com. After we asked Moroney whether those pay barriers might impact his supplement business, he put forth an anecdote that speaks to the separate worlds of print and digital content consumption.
The way Moroney tells it, the Dallas Morning News in September 2012 did a survey of about 2,000 print subscribers. At the time, he says, a print subscription was priced at $30 per month and an all-platform digital subscription was priced at $16.95. The survey placed before subscribers a number of pricing scenarios, asking them at what digital price would they dump their print subscription. Would they dump that $30 print deal for a discounted digital subscription at $14.95, for example?
Well, the scenarios bottomed out at $2.95. That is, the newspaper asked those print subscribers if they’d drop print for a digital product priced at one-tenth the price of their print deal. Only 5 percent of the respondents, recalls Moroney, responded that they’d bite on that offer.
“I said to my economist,” says Moroney, “What’s going on? He said, ‘Butter is not a substitute for a car. They’re different things.'” Of the folks who’ve expressed an interest in the supplements from the New York Times and The Washington Post, Moroney says, “they’re not interested in accessing it online.”