The $25-for-26-week deal was only open to new subscribers (although the Strib bent and let Sunday-only subscribers upgrade). In the September circulation report, the Strib’s Monday-Friday circulation was 297,478, so the Groupon deal will buff those numbers by about seven-tenths of 1 percent.
The Strib’s weekday print circulation has slipped, though the pace of decline slowed this year. In September 2009, the number was 271,087, declining to 254,319 in March and 250,325 in the most recent report. Sunday print ticked up from 482,884 in March to 485,152 in September.
The buck-a-week deal was not without controversy; existing subscribers who pay hundreds of dollars dappled the comment stream with complaints that they were not rewarded for their loyalty. But c’mon people — newspapers always offer deals like this, albiet on less slavishly followed websites.
And full payers shouldn’t worry; the fine print says Groupon groupies will automatically be bumped to full price at the end of six months, unless they call the Strib to cancel. At least the newcomers will find dozens of old-school coupons in the paper.
[Hat tip: Jake Grovum]