AJC goes subscription-only on iPads and e-readers while website remains free

Is 11-11 the new April Fools’ Day or is the AJC really following through with their announcement that the iPad app, free since its introduction, will require a subscription starting November 22d?

Pricing plans are:

— Subscribers who get the printed paper fewer than 7 days a week can get the Digital Combo for an extra $2.99 a month.

— New customers can buy the iPad app or the E-edition by themselves for $9.99 a month.

— New customers can get the Digital Combo plus a home-delivered Sunday newspaper for $15.98 a month.

The AJC’s website, ajc.com, remains free and is not affected by the iPad app plan. Nor is AJC Digest, the newspaper’s free app for iPhone and Android devices.

Several months ago I was annoyed that an AJC story was available in the physical paper only for three days before it hit the interwebs. At that time I said I’d be willing to pay a small amount per month to have access to all stories, but that I didn’t want to deal with physical newspapers in my house in order to get it. I might be willing today to start paying a monthly fee if it doesn’t require me to either have the paper delivered, where it will eventually turn to mush on my front walk, or use an iPad/e-reader.

I don’t own an iPad or e-reader, so it’s a moot point, but I can’t see paying an extra monthly charge to read the same information I’ll apparently still be able to get on the website, but through an app that prettifies it. Unless they cut out the advertising in the app version.

I believe that there is value to Metro Atlanta to having a major daily newspaper, but it’s sometimes painful to watch the AJC try to get its bearings in a new post-paper world. That said, what, if anything, would you be willing to pay in order to read the AJC in your choice of medium?

18 comments

    • Harry says:

      Yeah, we too get the AJC, but just for the coupons. They could save a lot of trees and dough by eliminating everything but the coupons.

    • bucky says:

      The iPad edition, which I have gotten for free for a year now, is useful for only one thing, but one very essential thing: the comics.

  1. saltycracker says:

    Pay for an AJC subscription either in “wet” ink or on line: No
    Deal with coupons/ads for free on line: yes

  2. Herb says:

    I think there should be no subscription fees for newspapers, and an end to grocery coupons. We need to open up our wallets to the food companies and department stores that starve and sweat to feed us, clothe us, and teach us to read. It’s imperative we do so. It’s the only reasonable, feasible, and logical option out there, contrary to what Republican screamers would have you believe.

  3. NoTeabagging says:

    Us Old Timers remember gladly paying for a newspaper AND getting the advertisements and sales fliers. Sure the Newspaper made big bucks from the advertisers and they still charged for single issue and subscriptions. Remember the marketing motto if its free it must not be good or credible.

    Along comes the digital age and suddenly tons of content is free or shared illegally. Yes, Todd that means all your cute PP embedded videos and photos that are in violation of copyright. More bizarre is the notion that newspapers are supposed to deliver us free content without ads digitally. So the AJC has lowered its online content to when Britney is in rehab, or the latest skank slap on last night’s Real House Skanks of Atlanta, and other tabloid stories.And yes they selectively publish really interesting stories only in print and ignore showing they can produce anything vaguely approaching journalism online. It doesn’t exactly make me want to sign up for online content.

    I might pay for an online subscription, if I were getting real news and in depth reporting. I might pay if I were getting the same timely news that is in print. I might pay for the convenience of getting local sales info in one online place.

    Look at the NY Times online model. They are finally wising up to the fact that they need to offer certain stories ‘for pay’ online if they are going to survive.

    What none of the newspapers thought about was offering news and advertising online via subscription. This was back in the day when many retailers had no clue how to set up a website.They could have maintained their value by offering the weekly local sales and coupons, etc. online. They did sell annoying animated banner ads and sidebars, which thankfully can be blocked in certain browsers. They thought that was the golden ticket. NOT.

    Instead the retailers simply set up their own websites, groupons, email blasts and more. God save me from one more “like us on facebook for exclusive events and offers” invitation before I puke.
    Before we turn the AJC into another thrifty nickel rag, let’s look at the value in keeping journalism and the great daily newspaper tradition alive. Nobody is writing this stuff for free BTW.

  4. NoTeaBagging, your comment is out of line when you condescendingly state that, “Yes, Todd that means all your cute PP embedded videos and photos that are in violation of copyright.”

    Todd independently takes photographs and videos, and owns them. You look like a fool when you take such an approach with absolutely no evidence or fact to back it up.

    But then again, your moniker is “NoTeaBagging”.

  5. Todd Rehm says:

    Teabagging-

    First of all, the vast majority of the photos I post here are my original works. Open up and say “ahhhhh!” FWIW, if anyone inquires, I generally allow non-commercial use of my images without compensation, just for the asking. In fact, my photos are published pretty regularly and I generally don’t ask for compensation.

    Secondly, I believe that every youtube clip I’ve ever posted here falls squarely within the “Fair Use” exception to copyright. We are, after all, not operating on a for-profit basis, and I believe we are doing work that is educational in nature. Generally speaking, the clips used are a small part of the original work, as is the case you bring up. I don’t believe anyone is stopping themselves from buying the “Live in Paris” DVD. I actually bought it based on seeing the youtube of that video.

    I prefer embedding YouTube clips because I know that they’re very responsive to copyright holders – if as is the case for that Diana Krall video, it’s been online for more than three years there, viewed 500k times and is tagged with the artist’s name, I’m fairly confident that the copyright holder or their agents are aware of it and have decided to leave it there.

    Finally, when I do use work that belongs to someone else that I don’t believe is within the Fair Use exception, I go get permission. So, for instance, yesterday, there were two of my photos that ran on the front page, one stockphoto that I acquired rights to, and three photos of government buildings. For the government buildings, I emailed the photographers, and asked if I could use their photo on Peach Pundit, that I’d credit it to them, and link it to their flick photostream or website. They all said okay, and I credited and linked back.

    Maybe before you start talking about complex issues next time, you’ll see if you can find one that you actually know something about.

    • NoTeabagging says:

      Todd. I accept your fine explanation. Although I cannot recall seeing a “used by permission” credit in earlier posts. Please accept my apology for the copyright dig.

  6. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    I know a lot of people who buy multiple copies of the AJC, grab the ads/coupons and toss the rest without even reading the paper. I love my coupons, but there has to be a better way for these companies to get their circulars out. I would rather pay a small fee to Smartsource, RedPlum etc, to get them to mail me however many circulars I want each week (for my family, 4 or 5 a week).

    I didn’t understand the point to offering subscribers the small fee for additional online access. If I was already getting the paper, why would I want to read it online too?

    • Harry says:

      Why do advertisers use the AJC? I think it goes back to the days of Ralph McGill and Richard Rich, Mills B. Lane, etc. These guys were all within a couple blocks and would lunch at the Commerce Club. The AJC wanted the business and promised not to write anything bad about Rich’s. As the saying goes, you don’t pick a fight with those who buy ink by the barrel. That was then. Even today, I’m sure Kroger or Publix doesn’t want bad publicity from the AJC.

  7. Ed says:

    “would you be willing to pay in order to read the AJC in your choice of medium?”

    We already have that ability. And I pay for a subscription.

  8. saltycracker says:

    Harry had a Serious question. With the over information on the web why pay for more?
    There is not much value added to the AJC, the mainstream info is syndicated and available elsewhere. Local stories are on pay cable tv and most folks are not into city doings.

    Sticking with about four magazines.

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