Last Friday night on the way back from a pretty disappointing Nouvelle Vague gig at the Roundhouse a Times subscription ad caught my eye. It was offering free delivery before 7am seven days a week to anyone living inside the M25. Of a newspaper. You know, those big, floppy paper things that everyone says won’t be around much longer?
I said to my wife “you know, if the Guardian offered that, I’d subscribe like a shot.” And she said “knowing you, you’ll have signed up to the Times by the end of the weekend, just because it’s new.”
She knows me so well. So, from next Sunday, I’ll be getting the Times delivered to my house for the grand total of 8 quid a week. No contract, and I can change my options online at any time. If I want just one paper a week, I can get it. If I want to suspend for several weeks, I can. And, as has been said many, many times before, that’s a week’s worth of newspapers for the price of four tall Starbucks lattes.
Now, before this turns into a commercial for what is still a newspaper owned by Big Bad Murdoch, I should just say that I can’t understand why the Guardian has never offered this. It’s been discussed endlessly internally, and for the life of me I can’t recall anyone giving me a single good reason why they shouldn’t do this in my five years there. It’s not going to save the newspaper industry, but surely there are, say, 20,000 people living within the M25 who’d be willing to sign up to receive the paper? At least at the weekends?
Also, worth adding that the Times make a big deal of their “clubs” when you sign up. You get free membership of their Culture or Travel clubs, and I admit to glazing over when they rolled off the list of benefits. But it took up at least a third of my phone call with them.
We shall see. But (as I’ve said here before) I already spend much more on magazine subscriptions in a year than I do on the BBC licence fee. I like the feel of print-on-paper with my breakfast. Try as I might, clicking on a website while I munch on porridge or toast has just never done it for me. I admit to being quite excited that, from next week, a crisp newspaper will be on my doorstep every morning. It makes me feel like a grownup, to be frank (the delivery bit, mind, not the Times bit. The Guardian is a much more grown-up newspaper).