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.