Jan 3, 2008

Reporting from the boonies -- of Saratoga?

I found out today that I live in an "outlying area."

Such was the information I gained this AM, courtesy of my friendly neighborhood Stewarts worker and the Albany Times Union.

Thursday is my one day a week to buy a hard copy of the T/U, primarily to catch the well-done Preview section of Mr Greg Haymes and company. Today's exercise revealed that the price of the paper has risen by 50%, from the long-running fifty cents to a new price seventy-five cents.

"Ouch," I said to the clerk. She referred me to the masthead, which declares:


So there I am, officially a resident of the hinterlands, err outlying areas. I could have sworn that Saratoga Springs was an integral part of the Capital Region; I guess I was wrong on that one.

I would love to know the motivations for this move. Is it just a monkey see, money do copy of the way the New York Times has done business for many years? Is it a subtle strategy designed to encourage people to stop buying the paper and instead read the online version? Are they writing off certain areas from their core target area? I frankly don't get it.

But maybe there's something more creative going on here. Recall my earlier prediction: that the Hearst Corp - owned T/U will make a bid on the local operation (i.e., The Saratogian) of the struggling Journal Register news chain, which would then allow them to take a more 'regional conquer' approach?

Could it be that this new price increase is just being inflicted as a temporary pain, so that it can announce some good news (a price decrease) in the coming months as a result of its new, predicted expansion?

Stay tuned.


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