Friday, August 14, 2009

The First Rule Of NYT Wine Club Is, Don't Talk About WSJ Wine Club.

In today's edition of "Does The Right Hand Know What The Left Hand Is Doing?":

This morning, on the very same day the NYT announced its newest desperate revenue-seeking mission -- The New York Times Wine Club, where members can regularly get specially chosen wines sent to them -- The NYTPicker got an appealing, slick four-color insert stuffed into its home-delivery paper, selling membership in The Wall Street Journal's WSJWine!

Now, The NYTPicker has to admit, we love a wine bargain wherever we can get it -- we've been known to write many a late-afternoon post with a Sauvignon Blanc within reach -- and now faces a stressful decision.

The WSJWine brochure suggests that Murdoch has taken an early lead in the battle to get wine drinkers on board. He's offering a $69.99 Introductory Case that has a value of $189.99. Yes, that's a savings of $120! Plus Rupert will send us a FREE Deluxe Lever-action Corkscrew Set, and FREE Tasting Notes & Binder. And if that isn't enough, we can specify if we want all reds, all whites, or mixed!


Today's NYT announcement suggests a different and not-so-appealing strategy to set its plan apart. Members will choose between two levels -- $90 and $180 -- and can specify how often they want delivery. The WSJ club seems to be a take-it-or-leave-it monthly plan. Less thinking. We like that.

Honestly we're not sure we understand the strategic advantages of a newspaper-sponsored wine club, even though the NYT story acknowledges that several newspapers have already gotten into this business. Will wine sales save newspapers? Hard to believe.

But we're pretty sure we get one basic business principle: when you're selling something, you don't offer an easy chance for your potential customer to buy that product from your direct competitor!

As desperate as the NYT may be for advertising, it seems, well, stupid to let the WSJ stuff an ad for its wine club into the NYT's home-delivery edition on the very day the NYT announces a wine club of its own.


Roberto said...

It simply demonstrates the influence NYTPicker has over the editorial and business operations of the Times.

Two posts ago, you noted the apparent porousness (porosity?) of the Chinese wall between the Times's Gap ad sales people and its Gap-reviewing media writer ... opening the door to the WSJ wine club flyer is a demonstration that the wall is back in place ... or perhaps an acknowledgment that Gaiter and Brecher are better than ... who at the Times writes about wine anyway?

Anonymous said...

But of course it won't affect the New York Times wine columnist. If he wants to, for example, slam the wine distributor who just happens to handle the Times's new wine club, I'm sure he can just go right ahead!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, the NYT wine writer will be too busy promoting an out of the way Oregon restaurant that just happens to be owned by his friend and won't have time to criticize the Times Club's wines or distributors. (It was a coincidence! okay, maybe i should have revealed it, but really, that's irrelevant!!!)

Anonymous said...

Somehow I always imagined NYTPicker as a bourbon drinker. White wine in the afternoon? Hmmm.

SomersJoe said...

Really. Are you suggesting NYT should have found a way to reject the WSJ wine insert? How many issues did you not consider among restraint of trade, monopolist behavior, first amendment, equal treatment, fair play, hot potato...