Every little bit of revenue helps when you’re in Chapter 11: The Star Tribune raised its single-copy price from 50 cents to 75 cents Monday. For now, the change only affects non-metro buyers; four bits will still get you a paper from a Twin Cities newsbox.
Frankly, the Strib has been behind the curve raising newsstand prices; as this Minnesota Monthly feature evidences, the price has been 50 cents for at least a decade. (My recollection is it goes back a lot further than that; awaiting a callback from the paper’s circulation director.) Meanwhile, the L.A. Times, another bankrupt paper, did the 50-to-75-cents thing two weeks ago, as have struggling papers in Seattle. The New York Times has raised its price twice since 2007 and USA Today tacked on a quarter this fall.
This may give the Pioneer Press headroom to hike its single-copy rates; currently, the paper charges 25 cents in Ramsey, Washington and Dakota counties, and 50 cents everywhere else. (The PiPress has a more expansive definition of “outstate.”) I’ve asked PiPress folks for comment and will update when I hear back.
In related news, my (unintentional) series of web traffic posts last week noted we didn’t have December info for the amount of monthly time users spent at startribune.com. The Nielsen Net Ratings figures are in; while “time spent viewing” was down nationally, the Strib’s soared, from 20 minutes per user in November to 32 minutes in December. This returns the Strib to its frequent place in the statistical stratosphere; it ranks second among the Top 30 newspaper sites, just a tick behind the New York Times (33:03) and a whopping 19 minutes ahead of the number-three Houston Chronicle.