Two-Daily Town Goes All Digital (And Slightly Mental)

May 23, 2019

For more than two decades the hardreading staff has proudly been one of the 17 home subscribers to the Boston Herald.

But the plopping of four daily newspapers on our doorstep every morning (Boston Herald, Boston Globe, New York Times, Wall Street Journal) has become too much to bear in this, our dotage. So we decided to pare down our print publications.

Ave atque vale, Globe and Herald print editions.

But, of course, it wasn’t that easy.

The Herald, feistily, told us that we’d have to wait for a month to convert our print subscription to a digital-only one – a sort of tabloid quarantine that seems totally self-defeating.

The Globe, on the other hand, welcomed our shift from print to digital, as it has with many others according to this piece from the estimable Don Seiffert in the Boston Business Journal,

The Boston Globe now has more online subscribers than print ones

The Boston Globe reached a milestone earlier this year when the number of its digital subscribers surpassed that of its weekday print subscribers for the first time — likely the only traditional, regional daily in the U.S. to have done so.

Filings the Globe submitted in the past week to the Alliance for Audited Media show that the inflection point occurred sometime in the first three months of the year. During that time, the number of weekday print subscribers fell from 108,719 to 98,978, an 11 percent decline year-over-year. That’s about on par with industry-wide rates of decline.

During the same time, the filing indicates that digital subscriptions — as measured by a category called “restricted digital access”— went from 107,902 to 112,241 as of March 31. While the Globe doesn’t specify exactly how it counts the number of online subscribers, restricted digital access seems to be a good approximation, and the paper’s director of consumer revenue, Tom Brown, confirmed this week that its number of online subscribers now stands at 112,700.

 

Handy circulation chart:

Except the BBJ piece kind of glossed over the economics of the Globe subscription shift.

Let’s take the hardreading staff, for example. Previously, we paid about $850 a year (!) for our Globe print subscription (digital access included). That’s roughly eight times what we pay for the Times or the Journal, and twice what we now pay for the Globe’s Sunday print edition and digital access.

Two-Daily Town Calculator (pat. pending):

For every lost print subscriber and gained digital subscriber, the Boston Globe loses roughly $400 per annum. Not to mention, according the the BBJ report, the Globe this past year lost 10,000 print subscribers and gained 5,000 digital ones.

Totally not sure how that makes the Boston Globe more financially viable.

But, as the big time reporters say, time will tell.

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Boston Globe ‘Potlight’ Team Is Less Than Frank

May 3, 2019

First, a disclaimer.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe Spotlight Team report on political influence in the Massachusetts Weed Bakeoff is a terrific piece of reporting.

Increasing their nut graf:

[S]o far, winning a license to sell pot in Massachusetts often seems to be determined by whom you know — or if you can afford to pay a lobbyist or consultant who knows people.

At least 12 of the 17 recreational pot stores open as of May 1 hired lobbyists or former politicians. The Boston Globe Spotlight Team obtained, through public records requests, thousands of e-mails relating to pot shop proposals in a host of communities. The fingerprints of influence peddlers — consultants, lawyers, lobbyists — are all over them.

This should be no surprise; it would be a surprise, in fact, if the influence business had taken a pass on the lucrative potential of pot. But the flood of former government officials coming into the pot business — including former governor and current presidential candidate William F. Weld, former state House speaker Thomas M. Finneran, former state senator Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., former Boston city councilor Michael P. Ross and even former Boston police superintendent-in-chief Daniel Linskey — is striking.

 

Noticeably absent from that roll-your-own call: former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, even though the Globe itself recently noted his tokin’ contribution to the weedification of the Bay State.

Barney Frank joins local marijuana business

When it comes to marijuana, Barney Frank and Bill Weld were both decades ahead of the political curve.

Frank, the longtime former Massachusetts congressman, supported legalization when he was a state representative in the early 1970s. Weld, for his part, backed medical marijuana as the governor of Massachusetts in the early 1990s. (Neither proposal went anywhere.)

Now, it’s Frank who will follow in Weld’s footsteps by joining a marijuana company. But while Weld last year joined the board of a slick conglomerate with national ambitions, Frank is linking up with a decidedly less corporate operation: Beantown Greentown, a local group of underground growers, marketers, and event organizers — you may remember their 100-foot joint stunt — trying to go legit.

 

The hardreading staff is not at all sure why the Globe bogarted Barney in its otherwise impressive investigation.

But our interest is definitely high.