Subscribers of The Daily Advertiser received notice earlier this month that the Gannett-owned paper would be charging an extra $1.34 to deliver its Thanksgiving edition.

The chain is auto-charging subscribers $2 and then refunding 66 cents. Can it really do that?

Apparently so (read the fine print on your subscription).

Thanks to Black Friday advertising, the Thanksgiving Day edition represents the bread and butter of the print news industry. For Gannett’s Daily Advertiser, the Nov. 28 price bump is a first, at least for the Acadiana market. And though it’s hard to pinpoint the reason for the added delivery charge, it could be an attempt to recoup revenues lost from the paper’s perpetually declining subscriber base.

According to the company’s annual shareholder reports obtained by Gannett Blog — an unaffiliated website that shares information generated by company insiders — subscriptions for the Acadiana market have steadily spiraled downward over the last three years:

terzotis  
 Judi Terzotis  

2011
(Daily) — 29,529
(Sunday) — 42,160

2012
(Daily) — 27,561
(Sunday) — 37,725

2013
(Daily) — 26,416
(Sunday) — 35,066

“Thanksgiving is our largest newspaper of the year and our single copy price will be the same as Sunday,” says newly arrived Publisher Judi Terzotis — the paper’s fourth publisher in six years — who spoke with ABiz by email Monday. “This has been a standard industry practice in many markets regardless of ownership. Our readers use our Thanksgiving edition to plan out their holiday shopping. As you know, many retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day and we want to arm our readers with all the great deals our local retailers are offering.”

Based on our calculations, treating Thursday's daily as a Sunday edition (it will also be sent to Sunday-only subscribers who are being charged an extra $2) will add about $52,700 to the paper's bottom line.

Add that to the extra advertising dollars generated by the Thanksgiving paper, and the figure skyrockets.

Not bad for one day.

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