Times Newspapers is curtailing its free home delivery service.
The service won't be abandoned – but if you want it you have to sign up for an entire year (previously it was open ended). Either that or accept a 30p per day (£2 a week) delivery fee. And if you want to keep getting a paper statement, that will be £1 a pop.
The Times Direct Delivery Service was a great deal when it launched in 2008, weeks after the Independent launched a paid-for home delivery service. You could sign up for free home delivery of the
Times and Sunday Times, on weekdays, weekends or for seven days if you lived within the M25 and couldn't get your papers delivered by your local newsagent, ie, almost everyone.
It always amazed me that a large industrialised country like Britain could help invent the supersonic jet but have dreadful trouble delivering a newspaper to my door.
Mention this failure to any newspaper executive and they would shout "ruinously expensive", throw up their hands in horror and bemoan the lack of entrepreneurial spirit among the nation's 12-year-olds. And then wonder why newspaper circulations declined.
Consider countries like Japan, where the Yomiuri Shimbun has a circulation of about 10m and the Asahi Shimbun about 8m. Their home delivery rates are 99.2% and 99.6% respectively.