Smart single-copy sales

In the IHT, via Romenesko:

“Now The Standard is fighting back, using a new, cashless payment system to try to make it easier for Londoners to buy the paper, even if they do not have the necessary 50 pence, or $1, in their pockets. Instead of handing over a coin or two, readers touch a card, called Eros, onto specially equipped devices at more than half of its 300 vendors around London.”

That’s what I’m talking about: Modernize the experience of buying the print edition if you want anyone to even think about doing it.

Wait, it gets better, I love this part:

“The Eros cards, which can be bought via the Internet, offer a discount on the price of the paper. The discount increases with the frequency of purchases.”

Now we’re talking: Buy the card online (or at a kiosk on the street, I’m hoping) and you actually get a better deal than you would with your quarters, er, pence, and the deal gets better the more often you buy the paper.

So not only are you now modernizing the purchase experience, but you’re building brand loyalty and putting a piece of marketing for your paper in the pocket of the consumer.

Yes to all of that, and yes again.

Modernize everything.

5 thoughts on “Smart single-copy sales”

  1. I love this idea! It’s like a Metrocard in D.C. or New York!

    I have often dropped quarters in the slot of an honor box only to have the door fail to open. This seems to happen more often on Sundays, when I’m dropped in a heck of lot more coins. Talk about a bad customer experience, yes?


  2. Two problems:

    1) the statue of Eros is a symbol of London – if you were dancing in Piccadilly Circus on VE night in 1945.

    2) the EROS card? It’s like pulling a lap-dancing loyalty card from your wallet.


  3. Nice system. It’s like a compounding SpeedPass–at least that’s what we call them in Florida.

    An alternative way to pay could be similar to how Japan is using cellphones as credit cards at vending machines and markets.


  4. Hi Ryan, haven’t seen you since SJSU…. I was just reading this, and wondering if raising the price on the paper would be such a good way to save a paper.

    As paper/news are fast becoming a commodity products, that the consumer can get it from just about anybody… the TV, the internet, I am not sure people are willing to pay extra… specially buying them off the box. Market economy tends to drive prices down, when there are competitions.

    I don’t know what kinds of revenue those boxes brings in for the paper comparing to subscriptions, and advertising… but I imagine…small in comparison.

    Most of those boxes are in and around downtown metro areas, which is also probably the most internet saturated area, where the potential costumer would likely to have access to hi-speed internet at work… the likelihood that someone would be getting his news is prob. through the computer. This is the reason I think that most metro papers are in so much trouble, is because that are competing with the internet providers for subscription fees. So, in a lot of ways, I think those boxes are on it’s way out.

    I been thinking that maybe if a print paper is to survive is too look at providing free subscription/delivery, perhaps 4-5 days a week, with special paid weekend editions that contains some long terms stories.

    There are some advantage to do this, First, you don’t have to worry about someone calling the paper threatening to cancel the paper, when they see something they don’t like. And so prob. frees the writer to actually write something meaningful.

    Second, You just broaden you customer base for your advertisers. and maybe getting back some of that money lost to the USPS for delivering those same ads to peoples door.

    Third, it’s free… News for the poor.

    ….( I am sure there is a couple others…, but my little brain can’t think of them now…)

    I don’t know how economically feasible is to work this, I haven’t work in a newsroom long enough to look at the books, and figuring out what the cost of printing the paper is comparing to maintaining bunch of reporters or other expenses… So, this prob would not work at all. 🙂

    But, if you are to be competing for some guys’ eyeball time. It’s a lot easier if you have a roll of newspaper lying in his front step first thing in the morning when he goes to work, before he get his free internet at work, and free TV when he gets home.


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