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Pricing of Digital Subscriptions

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by AdrianSadlier, Mar 10, 2020.

  1. AdrianSadlier

    AdrianSadlier Well-Known Member

    I used to be a regular reader of AP magazine and had the odd tilt at APOY. But as time passed, I found I had less time to read hard copy printed material. In my work and personal life I do most of my reading on a screen (I have two PC's, 2 laptops, an iPad and a phone).

    I dropped out of APOY when it went online because it was chargeable but more importantly you could improve your odds by spending more money (more entries). But with the relatively recent rule changes and the free entry to AP subscribers I thought about giving it a go in 2020. And looked into a digital subscription. But when I saw that digital subscriptions for Irish residents were being charged TWICE the price as UK residents (if you ignore the exchange rate - give it time and there will be no difference).

    I just about understand the thinking (not the logic) behind Brexit. VAT differences are minor and delivery/distribution costs are equal.

    But this is price gouging by geo tag!

    Can anybody explain the reason for this (other than maybe somebody still thinks we are "thick paddys").

    I will not enter APOY or subscribe to AP with this pricing policy.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    What does the printed version cost*? The only reason I can think of for such pricing would be to match electronic and print prices by locale.

    *thinks, it is probably marked on the mag. I’ll go find this week’s later.

    Edit: found it, it needs a microscope to read - paper version, 1 year subs £155.50 (UK), €259 (Europe), $338.99(USA), £221.99(rest of world)
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
    AdrianSadlier likes this.
  3. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    My current digital subscription is through Amazon. Their current price is £4.49 pm. I’m not sure how this works in Ireland as I don’t think there is an Amazon Ireland, but worth a look.
    AdrianSadlier likes this.
  4. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Surely there's always time to read the interesting articles in the paper copy? Only the longest and most tedious reviews of the latest Sony mirrorless cameras take longer to read than the time required for a healthy bowel movement.

    Re. APOY - pay and display is now appears to be the rule. I raised a thread about this on the forum a while ago, when I noticed that some winners appear to make many entries for some rounds (look for the zero points images), and was curious to find out if AP knew how many images are entered by each 'contestant'. Also, entrants now have to register with and use a 'third party' website so there are personal data considerations too. Like you, I have abandoned APOY. I now take less interest in it than I used to.

    I have just checked the AP website for print subscriptions, and the rate for Ireland appears to be the same as the UK: £24.99 every 3 months. I have tried, but cannot make the website display the cost of digital subscriptions for Ireland. Ignore any subscription rates printed in the magazine - like RRPs for cameras, they are a joke.
    AdrianSadlier likes this.
  5. AdrianSadlier

    AdrianSadlier Well-Known Member

    I followed Bazarchie's suggestion and was able to sign up for the Amazon 28 day digital trial (thanks Bazarchie). I then went on to the Photocrowd site to have a look at APOY. Tried to log in (used the platform back in 2017) but couldn't recall my password. So I tried to reset it. And again. And again. And ..........(of course I checked Spam). So I gave up and put in a support request on the platform. Don't hold out much hope.

    Very frustrating and likely to result in me forgetting about APOY and cancelling my AP subscription after the 28 days free trial.

    I just hate poor customer service with a passion:mad:
  6. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Perhaps AP's difficulty (and their publisher's) is the funding for the administration of these services.
    And also the definition of 'customer': are the customers the readers or the advertisers?
    Looking at the hardware owned by APOY winners, perhaps AP's advertisers hope that APOY will promote constant and expensive upgrading and owning of multiple cameras, which suggests that APOY is more for their benefit than yours.
  7. AdrianSadlier

    AdrianSadlier Well-Known Member

    To an extent I agree, with a twist. We are customers, suppliers and product. Customers in that we provide a source of revenue by buying the magazine. Suppliers in so far as we provide some of the content through submissions, APOY and the forum. Product in so far as it is access to us that is sold to the advertisers. And then there is our less recognised value as influencers (how many of us are the "goto" person in our circle of family/friends/camera club/work on all matters photographic? As an audience, I guess we would have an influence greater than our numbers would suggest.

    In my business life, I have always taken the view that I have "customers" at both ends of my supply chain. That way I never forget that I have to look after the people at both ends. Even in today's connected, on-line business and personal world, the old values still ring through. We all go to someone (real or on-line) for advice and guidance. A lot of organisations have forgotten that. My own customer base has doubled in the last three years. I have lost one client in that time - they consolidated their manufacturing operations in Ireland back to France (even I couldn't fix that one ;)). Mind you, I work as part of a great team that share the same values of customer service.

    As to the photocrowd issues, that's not AP's fault. But they must accept some responsibility for the performance of their suppliers. Or else they will not be in business for much longer.

    I'll get off the podium now!
    John Farrell likes this.
  8. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    I am sympathetic to your comments about the price of digital subscriptions. As you may have seen in another thread, AP has just been bought by a new owner. They may have a different policy regarding subscriptions.
    AdrianSadlier likes this.
  9. AdrianSadlier

    AdrianSadlier Well-Known Member

    Hi Nigel

    That may explain why the order I placed with Amazon for a digital subscription did not materialize. So I cancelled it.

    Let's see what happens - I do like AP and would like to continue to participate and support it (based on sensible economic values).

  10. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    I dont think this does expian that actually because our subscriptions department is still functioning as normal at the moment and will do during the handover period.
  11. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    Also, just to address some of the comments on here about the Amateur Photographer of the Year competition. It has always been possible to submit multiple entries to this competition, even when I was judging it back in the 90's and we had post bags filled with prints and transparencies. Because we only recorded the names of the winners there was no way of tracking how many people entered how many times.
    The only difference now is that technology allows us to track who has entered and how many times they entered, and the competiion is transparent so everyone can see the names of all the entrants. Previously everyone - the reader and the AP team, were obvilious to any info about pictures outside the top 30. Now that readers get one free entry, and have to pay for additional ones, there is probably less incentive to enter more pictures than when the whole thing was free.
    Now, even if you're not in the top 30, people can see your entry online, comment on it, and vote for it, so there is a second chance at success with the crowd vote. Previously if you werent in the top 30 you may as well have not entered. And name any major photo compeition which is limited to one entry per person or where they have the resources to police that. I cant actually think of many competitons on this scale with this value of prizes that even offer any free entries.
    Chester makes a good point when he mentions administrative costs. Each round involves several days of man/woman hours in setting up, judging and producing the accompanying feature. There is a cost to this. Yes we get a 6 page feature out of it but we could easily fill that space with something thats a lot quicker and easier to produce. We run it for the benefit of the readers, not ourselves. And Photocrowd is not a charity either. The revenue we get from additional entries does not cover the full cost of running APOY but it contributes towards it.
    Even though it's time consuming to do, APOY was considerably more work to run when it was based upon emailing pictures to us, and we longer have the resource to manage that (our team is less than half the size it was 10 years ago) and to be frank there was no data security in that system whatsoever (unlike now, especially with GDPR).
    This nostalgia for pre-Photocrowd days is like being nostalgic for the days before electricity was invented.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
    EightBitTony likes this.
  12. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    Re the hardware, the only advertiser that benefits directly from APOY is Sigma, who sponsor it. Regarding kit, I dont think APOY entrants kit is any more expensive than that of AP readers and enthusiasts in general, and of course we dont even record the kit info till we come to write the feature afterwards.
    It may interest you to know that in our recent reader survey (Dec 2019) the average AP reader has about £5k worth of gear. 43% of our readers own more than four cameras, and 79% own more than four lenses. 40% plan to spend between £1000-2000 on their next camera, 30% plan to spend more than £2000 and 30% less than £1000.
  13. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    My Amazon digital sub has just come back to life after a month. Customer services originally blamed the suppliers and then the pandemic as Amazon did not have staff to get the files received from the suppliers into Kindle format. Who knows.

    I expect you signed-up at the wrong time.

    I will wait to see if I receive any further editions following the change in ownership.
    AdrianSadlier likes this.
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    That sounds complete rubbish. I can’t conceive a situation whereby a third party can reformat and distribute a product. They might as well be flogging photocopies.
  15. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I don't see a contractual challenge with it?

    Amazon wants people to publish on its platform, it probably offers the contract with the benefit that Amazon will do the conversion from PDF or whatever format it's delivered in, to a) reduce effort on the publisher and b) ensure Amazon can make the product work and control the user experience.

    As long as the contract allows it, there's no copyright problem.

    The actual excuse might be horsedung, but I don't really see a challenge with the approach.
    AdrianSadlier and Bazarchie like this.
  16. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I would be very surprised if the whole process were not automated, or largely so, but it may require a person to send the file to Amazon and some one to receipt it and initiate the process.
    AdrianSadlier likes this.
  17. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I expect you are correct. Amazon must receive several publications from each publisher each day/week/month. All working now, the new owners probably have similar systems.
    AdrianSadlier likes this.
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I hit the subscriptions button on the AP site and subscriptions are temporarily suspended. I guess it is the change of ownership.
    AdrianSadlier likes this.
  19. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Sounds reasonable, I suspect there will changes for print subscribers too.
    AdrianSadlier likes this.

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