Price of Buffalo News is going up, but by how much?

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Your morning paper, with coffee, is soon going to cost more. In some cases, a lot more, subscription rates for Buffalo News customers are going up and each customer seems to be different.

Buffalo News executives have not announced a rate hike, go to the paper’s website and they are offering a deal for unlimited digital content. But we are hearing from individual subscribers that their rates are going up, in some cases substantially.

“Look at Cleveland, look at Pittsburgh, look at Syracuse, those places don’t even have daily newspapers anymore. They do not publish every day. The Buffalo News is a seven day a week publication,” Sandra Tan, Buffalo News reporter told us.

Reporter Sandra Tan is president of the union at The Buffalo News, which just ratified a new labor contract back in August. Tan says workers got better economic benefits from the deal, but not enough to affect the price of the paper.

“I can tell you for a fact, the contract settlement that we reached with The Buffalo News had absolutely nothing to do with the price increases,” Tan told News 4.

Experts say higher rates are part of an emerging new business model for newspapers.

“You are seeing, particularly in the print papers across the country, they are pressing the price button pretty aggressively,” said Douglas Arthur, Huber Research Partners.

Doug Arthur is a managing partner for Huber Research Partners, and points out traditionally newspapers could boost their advertising rates to raise revenues, but now advertising is only a fraction of their operating income. Costs are going up, especially for newsprint.

“Labor, healthcare benefits, delivery logistics, drivers, trucks, fuel, newsprint, they are all going up a lot, and it is putting pressure on margins,” Arthur added.

Arthur said newspapers are going digital, along with print and they have to be worth the cost.

“To make the content so ‘must-have,’ if you are a Buffalo business person or resident, that you are willing to pay a nominal amount because that is where the business is going. Full stop,” said Arthur.

We are getting different stories from Buffalo News readers depending on whether they pay annually, monthly or just get the online edition. We reached out to The News’ publisher and their corporate offices in Iowa for comment, but so far, without success.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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