Why is The Week magazine so costly?

“The Week: condensed, intelligent and all you need to know”

Everyone likes The Week, especially us.

The Week magazine exists on subscription sales. It would have folded without them.

The owner, Dennis Publishing, is a marketing-led company which is rare in UK publishing: managers of UK publishers are generally rooted in print and find both subscriptions and Online marketing difficult to embrace.

Both disciplines are, of course, branches of direct marketing.

Why is The Week so costly?
Actually it’s not. Not in the USA, anyway. A years subscription costs $39.50 for 50 issues.

But in the UK 50 issues of The Week costs £79.99 – four times as much.

Clearly, a high circulation isn’t that important to the publishers at The Week. The subscription rate is probably set high so the subscriptions marketing company can sell by telephone and everyone makes a decent cut.

The Week is far more readable than its competitors, but as it’s hugely more expensive it has a much smaller readership. See the price comparisons below (they should be roughly accurate, although please bear in mind subscription rates change from time to time.)

Far more readable
Here is an opening paragraph from The Week, to show you how they handle a story:

“Fifty years ago, our dustbins were full of ashes from domestic coal fires, on which much household rubbish was burnt. Now, due to clean air rules and central heating, we burn nothing at home. Instead, every man, woman and child in Britain chucks away half a ton of rubbish a year, the weight of a small car; London fills an Olympic-size swimming pool with rubbish every half-hour.”

The style is informative and interesting – like a conversation with a knowledgeable friend. And like a friend, The Week can produce some unexpected laughs:

“London fills an Olympic-size swimming pool with rubbish every half-hour.”

Well excuse me, but which London Olympic swimming pool is being filled with rubbish every half-hour? And who empties it? It would have to be cleared around 48 times a day.

That swimming pool could be the subject of a great documentary.

Use the link below to go to The Week’s website:

The Week UK version

There is not much on The Week’s UK website at present, which is a shame. When traveling abroad it’s far more productive to catch up with the news by reading The Week. Most other news sources are filled with daily nonsense and needs filtering.

The Week USA version

The US website however, is really good. My only suggestion for an improvement would be to offer an Online subscription as well as a print subscription – at a reduced rate of course.

How the subscriptions are priced

Here are some figures on weekly magazine subscription rates. There are some enormous differences that will impact on circulation – and effect the advertising page yield a title can achieve.

In the USA, The Week’s rate is just $39.50 for 50 issues, around $115 less than in the UK:

The Economist
USA offer: 25 issues for $49.90
UK offer: 52 issues for £94.40 UK, paid by direct debit

Time magazine
USA offer:
A. 84 (28 free) issues for $20.00 by credit/debit card or Paypal
B. 20 for $56 ‘bill me’

UK offer:
A. 54 issues for £34.99
B. 81 for £34.99 credit card

The Week:
UK offer: 52 issues for £79.99
US offer: 50 issues for $39.50 by credit card

New Statesman
UK offer: 52 issues for £82

The Week case study
We analysed The Week in our newsletter Subscriptions Strategy. We found examples of both good and bad marketing practice. To buy a case study, go here:

Case studies

The Economist in the USA

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