I currently subscribe to the Washington Post, Sundays only. Three years ago I could read through the entire paper in a couple hours. Now, with the dropping of a few sections (TV Week), and combining sections together (Book World, Editorials, Business section), and reducing the amount of original writing available in the printed paper, I can finish the entire printed newspaper in less than 45 minutes. I am 99% sure I will be canceling our subscription, if the Post will refund me the balance on my account. Of course, the ombudsman let it slip that most people threaten to, but don’t really, cancel the paper. If they won’t refund my outstanding balance, I’ll simply not renew.
Well, at 50 cents per Sunday, the printed version is a good value. But the equation of value is being changed by the Post. Comics? Available online with a larger selection. TV listings? Online in a custom grid showing only the stations I actually watch. Comments by people interested in an article’s topic? Online. Am I saying the Post should be charging less for the Sunday paper now that they’ve been reducing it’s size? Probably. Will they do that? Probably not. Will they make the weekday issues less expensive as well? I don’t know, I haven’t looked at a weekday paper in months.
Regardless, it’s a chicken or egg situation. Am I canceling because the Post is smaller than it used to be? Is it smaller because the Internet forced the paper to be smaller? Either way, the printed version of the Post won’t be coming to our home next month.