Two years ago, we explained significant changes at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. As a result of declines in print revenue, we announced a reorganization of the printed newspaper and made reductions to our staff. In addition, we noted a greater reliance on subscription pricing moving forward to offset decreasing print advertising.
Unfortunately, those conditions haven’t abated in the ensuing two years. The RTD — like newspapers across the country — continues to be negatively impacted by disruptions in retail and other businesses. Although our digital audience is growing and we’re reaching more people than ever before, technology giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon command the majority of online advertising.
In short, our business model continues to change. In order to maintain the quality local and statewide reporting that you’ve come to expect, we must increase subscription rates to meet the costs of producing a daily newspaper, related website and other online news products. Also, as more customer transactions are being done online, we encourage subscribers to sign up for eBilling and EZ Pay, which allow you to enjoy uninterrupted service and never have to worry about invoices or initiating payments. Using these services will avoid a $2.95 fee for sending bills to you by mail that starts in April.
As we ask you to invest more, we are committed to delivering more to our customers. For example, our print readers, especially seven-day subscribers who also have full access to Richmond.com for free, will find a variety of special sections and supplemental products accompanying the newspaper. Subscribers also receive discounts to some RTD events, while others are free. And we offer free email newsletters covering a wide range of topics and interests. Sign up at Richmond.com using the address Richmond.com/Newsletters.
Rest assured that we are working diligently to diversify revenue sources through our growing series of community events, through the strength of nearly 170 years of Richmond-centered archive material, and through new digital advertising solutions for our business partners. All subscribers are encouraged to sign up for our free reader-rewards program, Club RTD, which provides discounts at nearly 100 local businesses and restaurants as well as significant savings on hotels and travel. (You can learn more about this program and sign up at Richmond.com/Club-RTD.)
We’re proud to say The Times-Dispatch is equipped to provide high-quality journalism at a time when trusted reporting is as important as at any other point in our history. Our newsroom will continue to report stories that no competitor can match. (Please see today’s column by Executive Editor Paige Mudd in the Commentary section.) We appreciate your support of local journalism, and thank you for reading and subscribing to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.