Newspapers Want To Charge Subscribers Extra To Receive Black Friday Ads

If your household still receives a daily or Sunday newspaper, take pity on your neighborhood’s paper carrier. It’s hard work to haul the ad-stuffed Thanksgiving editions of the paper to subscribers’ doorsteps. Still, that probably isn’t what papers like the Chicago Tribune and Detroit Free Press had in mind when they announced that they’ll be charging subscribers an extra dollar or two for the privilege of receiving a bunch of ads.

No. We are not making this up. Jim Romenesko has the story, and these two Midwestern papers probably aren’t the only ones that have thought of it so far.


The Tribune frames the Thanksgiving paper as a “Premium Issue,” for which they will charge “an additional fee up to $2.00” to subscribers’ bills. Again, they’re calling this paper a “premium issue” even though the majority of the extra content is advertisements. That companies pay the newspaper for.

The Detroit Free Press, meanwhile, wants to charge subscribers the newsstand rate, which subscribers tell Romenesko is $1 more than the price subscribers would normally pay for that extra-large Thanksgiving paper.

The good news for subscribers who like to complain (and you’re reading Consumerist, so that’s probably you) is that both papers say that they’ll waive the fee for any subscribers who notice the problem and call the paper up to complain. So that’s nice. Everyone else, apparently, is on their own.


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  1. SingleMaltGeek says:

    Damn, when I read the headline I was so hoping these idjits thought that they could hold big wads of advertising hostage for extra $$$, which would have been hilarious. There are undoubtedly still some people out there who still might want the ads, but my guess is that a huge majority of readers would opt out of them for free, much less to save money.

  2. pigscanfly says:

    The papers are taking a cue from the airlines. Charge everyone for everything knowing the vast majority will grumble and pay. Crasigslist ate the newspapers advertising lunch years ago and now more shoppers look online for ads of interest.

  3. DrRon says:

    Will be dropping Detroit Free Press before November. Don’t need to go out in the crummy weather to get a paper I’ve already read online. Waste of $ and resources.

  4. Scillycat says:

    The Asbury Park (NJ) Press has been charging the Sunday issue price for the Thanksgiving issue at retail for a few years ago. Since there’s no way in Hell that I’m going shopping on Black Thursday/Friday, the ads get dumped in the recycling before I leave Wawa with my coffee (sweet, sweet liquid crack). At least I get the (probably misplaced) feeling that I’m supporting local(ish) Journalism.