Saturday, September 24, 2005

Giving Customers What They (Don't) Want


Recent changes over at the New York Times, specifically their moving editorials into a "for pay" category while adding additional services for paying readers, reminds me of a place I used to work. They had two subscription products, one of which ("Product A") was popular and lucrative, the second of which (("Product B") was a big money loser. They got the brilliant idea of eliminating both products and replacing them with a single new product - giving buyers less of "Product A" at a lower price, and throwing in "Product B" for free. But the customers weren't thrilled, pointing out that had they wanted "Product B" they would have signed up for it in the first place. After about four years, the combined product was changed to offer all of both the original products; but at a lower price than the organization had been able to charge for Product A alone before making the changes.

Let's just say, I'm not convinced that the best way to convince customers to pay for a product they want is to add features that the customers haven't previously used or requested. If the editorials themselves aren't expected entice people to sign up for Times Select, perhaps the pricing model (or subscription model) should be reconsidered.

As they say, time will tell.

3 comments:

  1. It will be interesting when the NYT finds out that people are just not all that interested in paying to read Charles Krauthammer.

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  2. It will be interesting to see if they figure out that as long as they syndicating thier op ed columns to sites that post them free, folks wont really have an incentive to pay:

    http://www.johntabin.com/neverpayretail/

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  3. This is kind of funny.... Certain right wingers are so afraid of the NYTimes punditry that they are proposing a scheme, literally to be orchestrated by somebody like Karl Rove, to try to create an illusion of its success by subscribing, such that nobody will be reading the Times' columnists when their Rovian leader calls for mass cancellation.

    You would think it would be easier to put their money where their mouths are, and try to win a war of ideas, rather than putting their money into a bizarre scheme which prevents them from being confronted with the weakness of their ideas. (But then, you probably can think....) Cringing from Maureen Dowd? With no offense intended to Ms. Dowd's sarcastic wit, how incapable are these people?

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