Just FYI: The New York Times is doing a LivingSocial deal today. Ink-and-paper-starved readers in the New York area (specifically "areas served by The New York Times Delivery Service") can get a 16-week Sunday home-delivery subscription for $31. That includes "Free All Digital Access," but unfortunately does not include a mani-pedi, a couples massage or laser hair removal.
In offering this deal, keep in mind that the Times sort of has to swallow its pride. Groupon-esque services obviously pose a threat to newspapers' business of chasing after the local advertising dollar, but if teaming up with daily-deals sites actually gets readers to cough up cash for honest-to-God news-on-newsprint, well ... whatever it takes, right?
Various papers around the country (including the the Sacramento Bee and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) have done LivingSocial deals before, and the Times has previously worked with Groupon to offer discount subs to readers in areas such as San Francisco, Washington and Chicago. (The Times and other papers have also separately introduced their own variations on the daily-discount model.)
Considering that the standard introductory offer for New York-area New York Times Sunday subscribers is $2.45 per week for the first 8 weeks, today's LivingSocial offer is actually a pretty good deal.
The LivingSocial pitch:
Forget homemade pancakes and a robe: A relaxing Sunday isn't worth its salt without a copy of The New York Times -- the most widely read of the seven-day dailies that has garnered more than 100 Pulitzer Prizes. With today's deal, get unfettered access when you pay just $31 (regularly $78.40) for home delivery of the Sunday edition for 16 weeks, plus free unlimited access to NYTimes.com and the paper's mobile apps for your smartphone and tablet. The gem of the weekly news cycle, the Sunday paper is a joy to read and a beauty to behold. This edition expands on all of the weekly sections, providing a comprehensive look at the goings on in the worlds of business, politics, sports, and local news. It also features special sections: The New York Times Magazine, Sunday Styles, Arts & Leisure, Book Review, and Sunday Review. With this deal in hand, you'll head into Monday relaxed and informed -- and well within your budget.
See LivingSocial for the fine print on the deal (e.g., "does not include e-reader editions, Premium Crosswords or The New York Times Crosswords apps"). As of this writing early Monday afternoon ET -- with just less than 15 hours left to take advantage of the offer -- 872 people have purchased the deal. Stay tuned ...
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.