Here is a pretty detailed analysis of the recent trend amongst publishers to increase the prices for their print products to make up for declining advertising revenues. In my publishing career, I have never worked for a paid publication, with almost all of my efforts going for free distribution products. As such, I have seen a few circulation cuts over the years. I can say, without exception, that every circulation cut has been followed soon thereafter by a corresponding drop in revenue. Basically, it’s pretty simple: fewer readers, less response, less advertising, in that order.
While publishers might see a bump in circulation revenue (proper emphasis on might) in the immediate sense, and a cost-savings in having to print fewer copies, eventually this kind of action will inevitably lead to even more declines in advertising revenue. I don’t understand how supposedly intelligent business executives can say things like, “what we really need here is a smaller customer base,” and be serious. Do they not think people are reading about this stuff and notice that they, rather unashamedly, are planning to gouge those of us who are still willing to buy their products?
It looks to me like even more grasping for straws in the dark.