Bottoms Up! Wine-Store Ad War in Boston Globe!

July 15, 2019

Think of it as a behind-the-bar brawl.

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the Total Wine chain of liquor stores has dropped a bundle over the past two years on full-page ads in the Boston Globe, sometimes cheek-by-jowl with critical coverage of the retailer’s attempts to change state alcohol rules nationwide to work more in the chain’s favor.

(For a lively debate in this space about whether the Globe should have disclosed its financial connection to Total Wine in those news reports, see here.)

Regardless, Total Wine had pretty much the run of the stately local broadsheet until last Thursday, when this ad appeared on page A16.

 

Here’s the body copy in the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet ad.

Something all serious winemakers and distillers have in common is great pride in their work. Read the label – they’re very eager to tell you all about their history, their traditions, their culture. Oh, it’s not on there? Maybe you’re looking at one of Total Wine’s private-label “house brands” from an unidentified source.

At New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets, you will find brands you know and trust at everyday low prices.

 

Whoa – that’s some serious liquor store shade, no?

This being Boston, we expected a serious smashmouth response, but here’s what appeared on page A3 of yesterday’s Globe.

 

 

Average savings of six bucks vs. New Hampshire prices?

That’s all you got, Total Wine?

Total Wimp is more like it.

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Hobby Lobby Runs Faith-of-July Ads in Boston Dailies

July 4, 2019

Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court’s favorite toy store, has placed full-page God and Country ads in today’s local dailies.

Here’s the Boston Herald’s page 9.

 

 

And here’s the Boston Globe’s A10.

 

 

The ads are a hodgepodge of quotes from U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, and – wait for it – Alexis de Tocqueville, all meant to bridge the church/state divide and claim the mantle of Psalm 33:12 – “Blessed is the nation whose God is the lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”

Representative sample:

 

 

There are also websites listed where you can Chat About Jesus or download a Bible to your smartphone.

The hardreading staff supposes it should have some smart remark to insert here, but we’ll just let this one speak for itself.


Boston Globe Seems Prepping to Dump Print Edition

June 23, 2019

First, from our Corrections/Clarifications desk: Last month the hardreading staff noted that Two-Daily Town had gone all digital. That, however, was not entirely true: We still get the print edition of the Boston Sunday Globe, so we’re sort of a hybrid Globe subscriber.

It was in that capacity that we received this email yesterday from the stately local broadsheet.

 

We are writing to inform you that we will be updating our Terms of Purchase. These updates apply to anyone who purchases a subscription to BostonGlobe.com or The Boston Globe. These changes will become effective August 1, 2019.

Please review the changes, as well as our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service.

If you have any questions about these changes, please call our customer service team at 1-888-MY-GLOBE (1-888-694-5623).

Sincerely,

The Boston Globe Team

 

So we checked out the Terms of Purchase (Effective August 01, 2019) and here’s what we found in section 1.2:

Only one person may use each account (user name and password) associated with a purchased digital subscription. A subscription which includes both a print subscription and a digital subscription may include multiple digital subscription accounts (user names), each of which may be used by one person.

 

Just so we’re clear: With a print subscription, multiple users can access the Globe’s digital content (BostonGlobe.com, the Boston Globe ePaper, and the Boston Globe mobile app) for one price. Without a print subscription, only one person gets access to that digital content; anyone else needs to pay for his or her own digital subscription.

Then, here’s what we found in section 2.1:

WE MAY CONTINUE YOUR PRINT SUBSCRIPTION ON A DIGITAL-ONLY SUBSCRIPTION BASIS IN THE EVENT THAT THE PRINT EDITION OF THE BOSTON GLOBE NEWSPAPER IS NOT PRINTED FOR ANY REASON AND FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME, EITHER TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT.

 

Wait, what?

No Boston Globe print edition – for any reason or any length of time – either temporary or permanent – means all bets are off? Whoa.

Let’s play this out.

Say the Globe decides not to publish a print edition on Monday September 2nd, Labor Day. That means every household that shares a digital subscription – such as the hardreading staff’s happy home – would then have to purchase individual digital subscriptions for each household member – whether the Globe then publishes a print edition on September 3rd or not.

More likely: the Globe is considering cutting back – or eliminating – its print edition.

Or maybe this is just a scam – sorry, scheme – to goose digital subscriptions, which now equal print subscriptions but still fall far short of what Globe officials say the paper needs to remain financially viable.

Either way – caveat subscriber.


Boston Herald’s New Home-Subscription Shenanigans

June 17, 2019

Now that the hardreading staff has gone all-digital and the Boston Herald is down to 16 home subscribers, the feisty local tabloid clearly needs to find new sources of revenue.

So buried on page 3 of today’s print edition is a To Our Readers box.

 

 

For those without magnifying glasses:

 

 

Really? An opt-out? That’s how you treat your faithful readers, Heraldniks?

And, all due respect, did it not occur to you to mention what the Special Section (Only $5.00!) is about?

Just wondering.


Juul’s Vape-and-Switch of Boston Herald in Ad Blitz

June 12, 2019

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, Juul Labs  – the company that owns 75% of the e-cigarette market – has locally run ads like these exclusively in the Boston Herald.

 

 

 

Now, though, faced with numerous lawsuits, Juul Labs is in Defcon 2 as our kissin’ cousins at Campaign Outsider have deftly noted, not to mention this piece by Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein in The Daily Beast.

Juul Spins Vaping as ‘Criminal Justice’ Issue for Black Lawmakers

The company has embarked on a massive lobbying campaign designed to reach the Congressional Black Caucus.

The vaping industry’s unrivaled leader, Juul, is making a huge push to ingratiate itself with America’s communities of color, hoping that doing so will win it critical allies within the Democratic Party who can help it navigate a high-stakes legislative and regulatory minefield.

The company has hired lobbyists and consultants with deep ties to prominent black and Latino lawmakers, steered money to congressional black and Hispanic caucuses, and made overtures to leading civil rights groups. It has enlisted the services of a former head of the NAACP, a board member of the Congressional Black Caucus’s political arm, and the Obama White House’s top civil rights liaison. And it’s sought the support of National Action Network chief Rev. Al Sharpton.

 

Two Daily Town rule of thumb (pat. pending): Whenever Al Sharpton is involved, kindly walk – do not run – to the nearest exit.

Given all that, Juul has now embarked on a full court press of full-page ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe.

But not the Boston Herald.

Your condolences for the thirsty local tabloid go here.


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.


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.