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Magazine and web subscription.

Postby djangodeadman » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:28 am

Why has the magazine and web subscription option been dropped?
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Kwackman » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:00 am

See halfway down in this thread.
https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=58539

I liked the Magazine & Web subscription option as well as I didn't really use the tablet much for reading magazines.
Ended up taking the "everything" option for a year to see what it was like and have to admit I quite like the tablet version now.
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:11 am

The quick answer is lack of demand.

And that makes sense because the web element only accesses the locked articles which are the last six months' worth -- everything else is free anyway. Most print subscribers hang on to their magazines for longer than six months and consequently few required or made any use of the locked web content and (understandably) didn't want to pay a premium for an unused resource.

The situation is different with tablet users because memory capacity tends to limit the number of back issues that can be kept on a device, and so access to locked article content online is a useful and attractive feature of that subscription package.

I should also point out that the full-monty sub package (print, tablet and web) is still cheaper than buying the mag every month from a newsagent.

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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby djangodeadman » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:01 am

Well, it's true that I keep my magazines for at least six months, so I'll have to see how I get on without access to the locked content. I can imagine some circumstances in which it could be a nuisance, though.

I understand that the full package is cheaper than buying the magazine from a shop, but it's a fair bit more expensive than what I've grown accustomed to and, as a subscriber, it's been a very long time since I've bought the magazine from a shop.

I also take the lack of demand point, although I have no idea of the cost implications to you of providing this option to even a small number of subscribers. However, you could consider this a request, if not a demand, for the reinstatement of the option.
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:19 am

I'll gladly raise the point with 'da management' again on your behalf.

My personal opinion probably carries little weight in these business matters, but I would have thought all subscribers (of whatever format) should benefit from access to the locked online content. But maybe there's a practical reason for not including it of which I'm unaware. I'll report back.

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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Wonks » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:58 am

I too was one of the mag and online subscribers, and as I don't have a tablet (and wouldn't use it for reading SOS if I did), the extra cost of adding the tablet version so I can see the current online info (which is occasionally very useful) has put me off re-subscribing. Even if it's not used by many people, does it take a lot more effort to add back the mag + web online content? Surely it's just a box to tick when setting up user accounts?
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:41 pm

Wonks wrote:Even if it's not used by many people, does it take a lot more effort to add back the mag + web online content? Surely it's just a box to tick when setting up user accounts?

Apparently yes, it does take a lot more effort, and no, it's not just a tick box!

The short answer I've been given is that the decision relates to needing to rationalise the number of subscription permutations because of the complexities involved in correctly calculating the VAT for customers in the 27 different EU countries....

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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby djangodeadman » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:01 pm

Thanks Hugh. At least we now know the rationale. I'm not sure I understand it though.
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:52 pm

Nor me... but a more detailed answer may be forthcoming in time... ;)
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:36 pm

I've learned today that it is actually surprisingly complicated and, while I can't give you much detail for obvious commercial reasons, the basic issue is that when all of the various permutations of subscription packages are taken with all the pricing and VAT variations needed for UK, EU (x27), Non-EU, America and 'Rest of World' customers, the number of separate subscription items available for sale through the shop approached 200 ... and that apparently became impractical to administer -- hence offering a reduced subset of subscription options.

I hope that helps to explain the reasoning.

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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby djangodeadman » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:25 pm

It does, thanks.

Your suggestion of making the locked web content available to all types of subscriber seems eminently sensible, nevertheless.
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Forum Admin » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:16 pm

djangodeadman wrote:Your suggestion of making the locked web content available to all types of subscriber seems eminently sensible, nevertheless.

Ideally, yes; realistically, it's not, as I'll explain...

The topic is really about allowing those readers with Print subs to also get a 'bonus free' Web sub. In the early days of web sites, to help establish the SOS site as a "go to" resource, we did effectively give away a free 'eSub' (as it used to be called) with Print subs, as well as selling them on their own. Web subs are VAT-able digital items and prior to the EU screwing with things and changing the rules, we paid a small proportion of the retail price of the eSub to the UK's VAT authorities on every Print+'free eSub' sub sold.

Then the EU changed the rules and whereas previously any 'eSub' or 'Print+free eSub' sale made to a UK/EU customer included UK VAT at the prevailing rate (initially 17.5%, then 20%), with very little notice we (and lots of other UK-based sellers of digital goods like samples, eBooks etc) had to charge the VAT element based on what country the subscriber hailed from. All at differing rates!

At the time we were faced with having to negotiate with the VAT authorities in 27 EU countries as to how much VAT they wanted to charge us on our so-called 'free eSub'.

We were not charging subscribers any more money back then for the 'eSub' when it came bundled with the Print subscription, and the thought of having to lose 27 slices of VAT on every sub... well, you can hopefully understand why we took the decision to remove the free element from that subs offer.

The only subscribers who continued to get their free eSub (duly renamed Web Sub) were those who had bought 2-year subs prior to the EU VAT rule changes.

There's no VAT (currently) on printed magazines in the UK.

So, this explains the policy shift and why we cannot just give a so-called 'free' Web Sub to every Print magazine subscriber -- the EU would still want their VAT slices, if we did, and we'd have to cut into the already small margin we make on sold Print subs to pay the EU. That way madness lies...


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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby djangodeadman » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:26 am

Thanks for the detailed explanation, Ian. I now understand the situation properly.
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby BobTheDog » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:42 pm

This is a real shame, I contacted subscriptions a few weeks ago about this’ as my renewal is coming up, no response so came here to see this :(
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby BobTheDog » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:47 pm

Just looking at the subscription costs and wanting web access I have:

print and web: £60.37

Tablet and web: £31.50

So I guess this is the end of the printed magazine for me, now I need to take the iPad into the bog to read the mag when having a crap!

Progress eh.
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby blinddrew » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:40 pm

Just remember you can't use it as a loo roll substitute if you run out...
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby BobTheDog » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:21 am

Good Point!

I just had a look what I paid before for print and web, £84.00 for two years. This should now be £120.74. That leap seems more than the 20% VAT or am I misunderstanding something?
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby garrettendi » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:37 am

blinddrew wrote:Just remember you can't use it as a loo roll substitute if you run out...

My good sir are you suggesting what I think you suggest? What an insult to the good authors of SOS!

:headbang:
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby Forum Admin » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:08 am

BobTheDog wrote:I just had a look what I paid before for print and web, £84.00 for two years. This should now be £120.74. That leap seems more than the 20% VAT or am I misunderstanding something?

Bob, we did not raise the subs price for over 9 years previously, swallowing year-on-year paper price hikes by the paper mills, increased postage charges across the globe, and increased overheads... why do you think many other magazines have ceased publishing a paper edition? It's very costly.

The subs prices had to be realigned to ensure we did not lose money on them. I have also explained earlier in the topic why the Web sub could no longer be included as a "free" bonus.

Also, we no longer sell 2-year subs (for reasons explained earlier too), so the £120.74 price is not a good comparison.

Sorry, if it is a big increase for you -- but if you divide your Print+Digital renewal price of £60.37 by 12 issues, the per copy price is still cheaper than buying from the newsstands each month, and you also get web access AND tablet access. You might not be using a tablet now, but any Digital sub you buy remains accessible in the future too.

It's a bargain - especially when you factor in the high quality, reliable editorial.

We're not in the practice of ripping off our customers and the whole team work very hard to maintain standards, and we set our pricing to allow us to continue in business. Hopefully, you'll understand that.
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Re: Magazine and web subscription.

Postby BobTheDog » Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:18 pm

Thanks for the full explanation, makes much more sense now.

I'm in a penny pinching mode at the moment which hopefully won't last much longer but you are quite right, it is a bargain. I'll get the print+digital subscription.
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