THE BOSTON GLOBE is raising its digital subscription cost by 74 percent in a move that executives say is an attempt to raise revenue and to match price with value.
The digital rate, which has been $3.99 a week since the newspaper launched digital subscriptions in 2011, is rising to $6.93 on Monday. On a yearly basis, the rate is jumping from $207 to $360, or about 99 cents a day. A one-year promotional rate of $3.99 per week is being offered to new subscribers.
“In order to continue producing the quality journalism you know and love, we find it necessary to increase our subscription rates,” said Peter Doucette, vice president and chief customer officer, in an email to the newspaper’s digital subscribers. “Even with this increase, though, you’ll enjoy unlimited access to BostonGlobe.com at a tremendous value – just 99 cents a day.”
The Globe has 65,000 digital subscribers and more than 230,000
250,000 print subscribers, who pay $14.35 a week, or $754 a year, for seven-day delivery. (Correction: Globe officials said the original 250,000 number they provided was just an approximation; they said the correct number is a bit over 230,000.)
David Rosen of Boston, who received his email from Doucette on Tuesday, said he has been a subscriber to the Globe for more than 30 years but canceled his digital subscription after receiving notification of the unexpected price increase.
“I wonder what the public reaction would be if the MBTA unexpectedly announced a 70 percent increase in T fares, or the city of Boston announced a 70 percent across-the-board increase in property taxes,” he said in an email. “Perhaps other Boston Globe subscribers will have the kind of reaction I did, and the Boston Globe will reconsider this decision.”
The Globe’s move comes at a time when owner John Henry is investing in the newspaper and trying to keep it profitable. If all digital subscribers were to continue on at the new, higher rate, the Globe will take in an extra $9.9 million a year.
In his email, Doucette said the newspaper plans to unveil a revamped sport section in the fall and is adding a team of digital-first reporters covering sports and local news.
Most newspapers are now charging for online content, but not all of them are. The Globe’s price increase will make its digital bill one of the highest in the nation.
“We didn’t try and value it based on what other publishers are doing,” Doucette said in an interview. “We tried to value it based on what our journalism is worth.”
The New York Times charges three different digital rates — $3.75 a week for web and smartphone access, $5 a week for web and tablet access, and $8.75 a week for access on all digital formats. Yearly rates range from $195 to $455. The Wall Street Journal charges $28.99 a month, or $348 a year. The Washington Post charges $2.50 a week or $99 a year for its national digital edition, and $3.75 a week or $149 a year for the national edition plus District of Columbia coverage. The Chicago Tribune charges $129 a year for a digital subscription and the Los Angeles Times charges $2.99 a week, or $155 a year.
Locally, the Patriot Ledger charges $9.95 a month or $79.95 a year. The Eagle-Tribune charges $17.99 a month, or $216 a year. The Telegram & Gazette in Worcester charges $8 a month, or $96 a year, for digital access on all platforms. The Boston Herald and Masslive, the Springfield-based website affiliated with The Republican, charge nothing for their online content.