A subscription price increase is coming Sept. 1.
Our price for newspaper delivery in the town of Milton is $55 a year, a price that price increased just two years ago after being $50 a year for quite some time.
Newspapers sold at retail outlets are $3 each, so the subscription price is a good deal. If you were to buy the paper every week at a newsstand, it would cost $156.
Our subscription price will remain a good deal.
But effective Sept. 1, the cost of a one-year subscription in Milton will be $65. A two-year subscription will be $120, up from $100.
The business model the Milton Times has been based on for the past 25 years is one that has worked historically for print newspapers.
It involves a mix of revenue from advertising as well as from circulation (something people outside of the industry think of as newspaper sales).
It is something that has worked for centuries.
Until recently, advertising took most of the weight in the revenue mix.
Indeed, at the Milton Times, ads have provided between 75 and 80 percent of the newspaper’s budget over the years.
There have been times when ad sales dropped because of events in the larger economy. It happened after Sept. 11, 2001. And it happened again in 2008.
This March we experienced a dramatic decline in advertising revenue as the coronavirus sent the country into quarantine.
At the end of 2001 and again in 2008, (when the housing market sent shockwaves through the economy) our regular advertisers were asked to deal with major increases in the price of advertising space in this paper. Our advertisers were willing and able to handle those increases back then.
We live in a different world.
The business community is suffering from both the need to keep their employees and customers safe, which translates into higher costs as well as a shrinking demand for goods.
It seems certain that a major increase in the cost of advertising space would only serve to create a decrease in businesses interested in paying for the space.
And so we need to develop a way of balancing our budget so that circulation pays a larger proportion.
This summer our readers can buy a subscription at the current rate. In fact, we are willing to sell multi-year subscriptions.