In a media pricing frenzy

From movie tickets to Kindle books to the New York Times, consumers are facing creeping prices at every turn

By TheWrap Aug 2, 2010 4:32PM

Welcome to the age of re-priced media.


From the theatrical box office to every new platform of digital publishing and video entertainment, signs of fundamental pricing change are increasingly evident across the media economy. And if the frenzy is unprecedented, the catalyst for it is also without parallel—a wave of new media-friendly e-gadgets and e-devices, a near historic recession that devastated the ad-dependent publishing sector and the stark recognition of the existential threat to an industry in digital transformation.


“There is a re-balancing, a re-calibration, going on, and it’s a healthy one,” John Loughlin, executive vice president and general manager of Hearst Magazines, tells TheWrap. “In part, it was given a real nudge with the ad recession. We must bring our revenue streams more into balance.” So these days, media products from Hulu to the New York Times to 3D movies are introducing payments that will bring “balance” for producers -- and for consumers, sticker shock.


In a world exploding with media options, consumers will face creeping prices at almost every turn. The free ad-supported video-streaming phenomenon Hulu became more than just a cheap thrill with the June introduction of the $9.99 monthly Hulu Plus. Meredith Corp. says it’s considering higher cover prices and subscriptions for Ladies’ Home Journal and Traditional Home.


Earlier this year, book publishers gained the upper hand to boost e-book prices in a showdown with Amazon, whose Kindle e-reader is helping to jump-start a mass market for electronic publications. The e-retailer, which had sought to set e-book prices at $9.95, capitulated in a battle ostensibly with MacMillan, which charges $13 to $15.


Meanwhile, the New York Times will have a pay wall erected by early next year at its website to fence off news that used to be free. The newspaper already has raised prices for digital iterations available on portable platforms, including a recent 43 percent jump to $19.99 for its e-edition on the Kindle.


Not that consumers are buying into the uptick in pricing meekly. “Way too high,” a recent visitor commented at Barnes & Noble’s website, reacting to the $19.99 e-edition of the New York Times available there. Late last year, Columbus Dispatch subscribers began a virtual revolt after the publisher doubled subscription rates in some cases.


“Time to let the subscription run out,” wrote “Cameron” in the Facebook discussion. “Yes, they will be out of business pretty darn quickly.” But publishers see little choice but to charge or perish. Read more

Who's Gonna Sell to Our iPads?

5 Ways to Save Magazines

Hulu Rolls Out Subscription Service

0Comments

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

116
116 rated 1
265
265 rated 2
429
429 rated 3
612
612 rated 4
499
499 rated 5
525
525 rated 6
701
701 rated 7
533
533 rated 8
337
337 rated 9
131
131 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
UPLULTRA PETROLEUM Corp10
COPCONOCOPHILLIPS9
TAT&T Inc9
DVNDEVON ENERGY CORPORATION9
EOGEOG RESOURCES Inc9
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.