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Do you have a newspaper, magazine or TV subscription?

Friday blog

I don’t normally write about myself. That’s not the purpose of either my blog or my books. But I thought this little story might amuse or even help some readers.

Netflix crashes and burns

As readers will know, with the cost of living shooting up at much more than the official inflation rate of 7% to 8%, many households are reviewing how they spend their increasingly worthless money. And one of the first things many people are doing to reduce their expenses is to cancel newspaper, magazine and TV subscriptions. The US TV streaming service Netflix, for example, has recently lost around 200,000 subscribers and its share price has plunged by around 35%.

Though personally, I can’t understand why anyone would pay for Netflix. I had it available when I had to quarantine in a beachside hotel in a tropical paradise for a couple of weeks at the start of the Chinese WuFlu plague pandemic and couldn’t see the point of Netflix. After all, who wants their last words before their death to be “I wish I’d watched more TV”?

A Daily Telegraph price rise farce?

That brings me to my story. I have several subscriptions. One is to read the online edition of the Daily Telegraph. I have apparently been paying £80 a year for this privilege. I had no idea it was so expensive. I guess I must have bought a cheap ‘introductory offer’ a few months ago and then not noticed when that ended and the price shot up.

Two days ago, I received an email from the Telegraph informing me that they would be renewing my subscription for another year at a new price of £124 – an increase of £44 (that’s a price increase of a whopping 55%).

I tried to go into my online account to cancel my subscription, but the Telegraph doesn’t let you do this. Instead you are forced to phone their “friendly” staff at their call centre – a number that seems to be engaged most of the time even though “your call is important to us”.

Anyway, I did eventually get through on the phone and asked why prices were going up by 55%. Was the Telegraph giving all its journalists a 55% pay rise? Apparently not. Was the Telegraph giving all its other staff a 55% pay rise? Not that either. Was the 55% increase due to the rising cost of paper and other raw materials? No, because I only had a subscription to the digital (online) edition.

So I cancelled my online subscription from the day before the announced price rise came into effect – 5 May 2022. No problem.

An hour or so later, I logged on to my Telegraph account to read that day’s newspaper and a big message flashed up on my screen offering me a whole years’ digital (online) subscription for just £49 – almost a 40% reduction on the £80 I had previously been paying and £75 less than the increased price of £124 that caused me to cancel in the first place.

I guess many subscription services are panicking. They know that, if you cancel, you’re unlikely to come back. So, as soon as you cancel, they’ll bombard you with special offers just to keep you. After all, for the Telegraph, getting £49 a year from me is probably better than getting nothing.

Will this work with other subscription services?

Thus by trying to raise their prices by 55% from £80/year to £124/year, in my case the Telegraph succeeded in reducing their earnings by about 40% from £80 per year to just £49 per year.

Will this work with other subscription services? Will they too panic if you cancel and will they end up offering you an even lower price than you are currently paying just to keep you? Who knows? But I’ve just cancelled my subscription to the online edition of The Spectator – it will be amusing to see what, if anything, The Spectator offers to keep me as a customer.

One other small point – there was a bit of a cock-up with my renewed Telegraph subscription and I had to ring the “friendly” staff at the  call centre about 7 times to get it fixed. I’m a bit nosy and, given that I co-wrote the book THE GREAT UNIVERSITY CON How we broke our universities and betrayed a generation, I asked my interlocutors if they had a university degree. It turned out that about half of them had been to Uni and were now working in a newspaper call centre. Yet Mr Blair has told us that we need to increase the percentage of young people going to university from its current level of 53% to 70% in order to “have a more skilled, productive workforce”. Sorry, Tony, but do you really believe that call centre staff need university degrees and the £50,000 student debt which many university graduates will carry for the rest of their lives?

Spending your savings

Oh, and if this subscription cancellation trick works for you, you could always invest some of the money you save in buying a couple of copies of the two best books exposing the nonsense of impending climate catastrophe – my latest book THERE IS NO CLIMATE CRISIS and Ross Clark’s THE DENIAL:

6 comments to Do you have a newspaper, magazine or TV subscription?

  • A Thorpe

    This is a bigger issue than your subscriptions. You are doing it because of cost increases and I’m sure many others will be looking at their expenditure. Our government is doing a good job of ignoring inflation and the costs that they have added through their policies. I would not be surprised to see inflation in double figures very soon.

    I agree about subscriptions. I had a print subscription to The Times but I gave that up years ago and had an online subscription to The Telegraph and had the same experience as you when I cancelled that. I have a subscription to The Spectator and Unherd and I might cancel them because they don’t have anything new to say. I favour The Conservative Woman website at the moment.

    Look also at the offers to attract new customers to services, but there is nothing for loyalty.

    As you say as well, they don’t make it easy to sort out issues. I pay BT by monthly direct debit and a credit built up. There was no way online to get a refund so a call was needed. They gave me a refund but seem to have cancelled the direct debit payment. Imagine what the service would be like if their staff didn’t have a degree.

    Regarding the climate crisis I see that David Attenborough has been made a Champion of the Earth. That must annoy Greta. He really is the Enemy of Humanity.

  • Tomsk

    This is so true, companies, I’m with Plusnet for example offer cool introductory rates for new customers that do not apply to loyal long term customers. If you try to haggle for that deal you end up having to agree to stay with them another 18 months. Con merchants. I only use the service for internet.

  • Bad Brian

    The Telegraph has in many ways gone to the dogs in recent years.

    The way way their comments sections below articles are operated is dreadful in as much as the cencorship is at a level that would impress Stalin and the SNP would be proud of.

    What they can’t stand is having fun poked at their articles as they are so po faced about their important opinions.

    However, if you have upset them but not said anything that would justify an outright ban, your comment appears , but only you can see it, and obviously nobody else can “Like ” your comment. So they have effectivly dissappeared you without telling you.

    Yesterday,I was at the first Scottish meeting of the Free Speech Union started by Toby Young.It was well attended ( 200 ? ) and the speakers were excellent.

    When the audience began to raise questions and some told their own stories about how the Scottish Government in the shape of the SNP have intefered with their lives through Government, Police, Schools and Social
    Services, it became clear that the speakers who were all English except for Jim Sillars, were unaware how the political system in Scotland , imposed on us by Blair has almost got to the year 1935 on the parallel SNP / Nazi Germany clock that is operating.

    It is quite chilling to see this in action and the MSM choose to ignore what is really going on up here.Some of the audiences stories were very disturbing to hear what is really going on in Scotland.

    I was very impressed by the audience but dissapointed to see the average age was about 50 +. The event had not been advertised as this would have attracted about 200 SNP rent a mob types protesting outside the venue and the hotel would have cancelled the event.

    I have seen this before in Scotland, especially when Nigel Farage visited only to be confronted by agressive yobs that had been bussed north from Manchester and Birmingham as the Scottish Police looked the other way saying there was nothing they could do.

    Well done to our host David for practicing what he preaches when it comes to freedom of speech with his own blog here.

  • Brenda Blessed

    I have many years of experience of keeping my broadband and phone bill at around £20 a month.

    Only recently broadband providers have been forced to tell their customers when their contracts are going to end. They preferred that their customers did not know when their contracts end so that they would overrun them and get charged for the next period – 12 months, 18 months, 24 months. The price rises automatically when an initial contract ends by up to 50%.

    I always take screen shots of every deal I agree to, so I always know when my contract ends. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can all change your current provider to their business from any other provider. So, about a week before my existing contract is about to end, I get another ISP to sign me on at the price of an initial contract. They are all currently around £20 a month.

    I have never had any ISP that I was moving away from contact me to keep the cost of my connection as it was or a little bit higher.

    I just keep changing from EE to Plusnet every time my existing contract is about to end. Neither ever remembers me as a previous customer. I give BT a wide berth because it is always quite a lot more expensive that the rest even though it owns all of the landlines.

    I get all of the speed I need to watch streamed videos from a standard 20 megabits per second ADSL connection, so why would I want a more expensive fibre connection.

    At the moment I have a connection provided by EE up to the end of November. I have just looked at the price of the same connection at Plusnet. Here it is:

    Unlimited Broadband – Great for everyday internet use on a single device 10Mbps average download speed – £18.99 a month. I get 20mbps on that connection, which is twice the average speed.

    So, if that deal is still available in November I will be saving a pound a month. It may not be available, but it will be cheaper than EE, which will be charging me 50% more in December if I don’t make the change to Plusnet.

    Unfortunately all of the ISPs are probably going to charge considerably more due to this engineered cost-of-living crisis.

  • David Craig

    You say that you always avoid BT. But EE and PLusnet are (as far as I am aware) owned by BT!

  • A F Fanculo

    have you tried pressreader? Free via your local library membership or free trial 1/12. sometimes also lots of other magazines. Mine also gives ancestry library edition. Murdoch news times/Sun not available though ( if that would be an issue). one can even download crosswords to print

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