Chattanooga Times Free Press Has Steep Rise In Charge To Customers For Print Newspaper

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Chattanooga Times Free Press has advised customers of a steep rise in the subscription cost.

One custormer said the new monthly price to him will be $23.90. That is up almost $7 per month from the price of $16.99 in January.

Owner Walter Hussman of Arkansas, in an earlier full page in the newspaper, said advertising was not sustaining the newspaper as it once did. He pointed out at the time that subscribers would be asked to pay more.

A memo this week from Circulation Director Carroll Duckworth to customers says, "The Chattanooga Times Free Press is the largest and most comprehensive news source in Southeast Tennessee. Our editorial staff of more than 100 employees works daily to keep our readers informed about what is happening in the tri-state area. We cover 19 counties in three states in addition to maintaining a news bureau in Nashville to cover the state legislature and a bureau in Knoxville to cover UT athletics. Your subscription to the Chattanooga Times Free Press keeps you informed about the local and state events that affect your life. We remain committed to producing a quality news product for our readers.

"For many years newspapers have kept their subscription rates low by relying on a business model that is dependent on advertising to fund 80 percent of the total newspaper's revenues to cover operations. This has been true of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. However, even with above-industry performance, advertising has declined. While advertisers tell us they receive great results from their advertising campaigns with us, there are many more advertising options today than even 10 years ago.

"Regardless of the changes in the business model, we strongly believe a quality, in-depth local product made available through home delivery and now electronic devices 24/7. Some newspapers in the region have reduced the quality and quantity of their products and services. We do not see this approach as an answer to satisfy readers or as a viable business plan for the future. Newspapers, like all businesses, must invest in their products and services to provide needed improvements.

"In order to remain the region's most in-depth news source and provide quality products and services, we must adapt and change. This change will be reflected in the monthly subscription rate that is drafted from your account. Beginning on the first auto draft following March 19, 2014, your new monthly rate will be $23.90. With loyal readers supporting this change, we will continue to improve the quality of our products and services."

The newspaper in May 2010 cost $13 a month.

In January 2005, it was $11.30 a month.

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