Capital (NY) to Charge Nearly $6K for Subscriptions, Print Magazine to Serve as Direct Mail Piece

By Minal Bopaiah

Capital, formerly known as Capital New York before Politico acquired the site, will be charging $5,990 for an annual subscription, beating out the $5,000 price tag for Politico’s Pro subscriptions.

Politico’s co-founder and executive editor Jim VandeHei told Bloomberg in September that he envisioned charging $99 to $1,000 for a subscription, so this is a significant price jump from earlier estimates. However, Politico’s success with their $5,000 Pro subscription plan is possibly what gives Capital and Politico’s parent company, Allbritton Communications Company, the chutzpah to try such a steep price out the gate.

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The choice to charge more than Politico may be because of the different markets — as a former New Yorker, I can attest to the fact that *everything* is more expensive in New York, no matter how costly it may be in DC.

But the rather interesting marketing angle Capital has going is its decision to start printing magazines. That’s right, the Web-to-print trend seems to be gaining steam, especially for high-end publications. Starting Jan. 27th, Capital plans on printing and distributing about 8,000 free magazines to “key political influencers” in the New York area.

The idea of print-issue-as-direct-mail seems to be a growing trend, perhaps started by the success information publications have had with mini-issues (check out our Case Studies Lessons on The Week and Popular Science for more on how this tactic can work for cross-platform and digital publications).

But the decision to distribute these magazines for free is perhaps the most interesting tactic. Unlike most print publishers, who are holding tightly to print revenues and giving stuff away online, Capital and Politico are going free in print and paid online.

I’m curious — is anyone else trying this tactic? How successful is it?