They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

Grand Rapids Press Fail Round Two

So I got a response to my previous emails and a link to my blog post on The Grand Rapids Press Breaking Faith With Its Readers? (DW).
Dr. Kaldon,

Again thank you for your email and for the link to your essay. The information regarding the changes to the TV listing have been printing weekly since the weekend following Thanksgiving. Here is additional information on the new partner product, TV Weekly magazine - We have partnered with a local Michigan company to provide the TV Weekly magazine subscription as a substitute for the TV listings. This significant upgrade features 44 pages of local content including: channel guides; large, easy to read type; puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku; sports listings; celebrity features and birthday information; horoscopes; a cable conversion chart; relevant stories; news; and expansive movie listings.

We will provide free samples of TV Weekly in the paper on January 4 and 11. The samples will allow you to experience TV Weekly and will contain information on how to subscribe.

Beginning Sunday January 18, TV Weekly will be delivered on Sundays to those who subscribe to TV Weekly. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Now I know why I didn't see the messages -- given the irregular not-every-day-of-the-week service plus the Mlive emails, I simply don't read the newspaper cover to cover like I used too. Too much of the articles I've already read by the time they show up 1-2 Days later. THIS is the problem with not making a daily paper a daily paper.

Plus... the cable conversion chart is not complete, not that I need it much, but still, they're touting it as a feature. And two TV sections ago they used to have movie listings, so we're restoring functionality. The previous TV Guide included Sudoku and crossword puzzles, which for now are relocated to another section. The old section offered seven Sudoku/week. The new, offers two -- and no author/source listed. Celebrity birthdays are already in the Entertainment section of the paper on Sunday. And as a physicist, I cannot tell you how pumped I am to get horoscopes. I can not. Really.

This is the problem with one-size-fits-all products. They don't match, they don't fit. We've been down this road before.

So... what does this new joy of a weekly TV section cost? Good luck trying to find out. The cover price is $2.99 an issue, as if anyone would pay that much for it. It didn't say in the paper. It doesn't say on the newspaper subscription page. And go to the TV Weekly webpage -- and it doesn't say either! You actual have to click on the Subscribe button to even see a price and I don't think that's cool:

1 year subscription - $39.00 - 52 issues = $0.75 each


Tuesday, Thursday, & Sunday Print Delivery + Daily Digital Edition + My Michigan Membership - Only $14.77 every 4 weeks!BEST OFFER!

So we're already paying $192.01/year for The Grand Rapids Press. This new "deal" will cost us $231.01/year, an increase of 20% for getting an inferior product from last month.

And it's not like this 20% cost increase is going to The Press. THEY aren't lowering their price to pay for less work and costs on their end. Profit for them.

Plus, here's the kicker, I have worked home delivery -- for The Chicago Tribune. And do you think that having two tiers of Sunday customers, those with and without the TV Weekly delivered with the Sunday papers is going to go well? I. Don't. Think. So.

This deal sucks.

I keep hearing Darth Vader in the background, breathing heavily, and saying, "Pray I don't alter it any further."

The other music I hear swelling in the background is a funeral dirge for the American newspaper. If this is what they think their customer wants, I do hope their resumes are current.

Look, I can get local news from three local TV stations and their websites. For free.

I can find a lot of the comics online. For free.

And I'm a published author -- I WANT the comic authors to be paid, dammit.

But... you can't keep cutting and cutting and costing me more and claim it's sunshine and roses. That just doesn't fly.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to me. Sigh. I am going to have to rethink this newspaper subscription thing. At least cut back to Sunday only.

Sunday Print Delivery + Daily Digital Edition + My Michigan Membership - Only $10.84 every 4 weeks!

That'd save me... $192.01/year - $140.92/year = $51.09/year. Hey, I can afford to buy the stupid TV Weekly and still have $12.09/year to buy 1-2 extra movie tickets a year. After all, the Powers That Be at the Press already expect me to use the Daily Digital Edition to read the funnies four out of six days a week -- they've made it a no-brainer for me to CUT my subscription. And some of that money saved will go to support a local business other than The Grand Rapids Press.

Unless their whole goal was to cut out home subscription and fire a lot of drivers.

Either way, well played.

Dr. Phil

NOTE: Mrs. Dr. Phil points out we pay every six months. So not totally sure if this best rate above is correct -- I'm just going on what was on the website. Obviously, to be continued...
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