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A one year digital subscription to Stereophile is $9.99, The Absolute Sound is $12.95, thats about £8.15 and £10.56.
A one year digital subscription to Hi-Fi Plus is £20.35, hifi news is £32.99, Hi-Fi World is £36, Hi-Fi Choice is £32.99, and What Hi-Fi is £34.99.
I've read the posts so far, and haven't seen any references to the very real issue of government and politics. As you all probably know, Britain, and Europe in general, is much more socialist than the U.S. This has a cost, which is reflected in the price of goods and services. "Free" benefits are anything but free. There are also more stringent environmental regulations, which also has a cost. Also, countries such as Britain and Germany have been bearing the cost of the EU, essentially subsidizing the rather frail economies of countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, and others. To Britain's credit, they had the foresight to keep the British Pound.
Lastly, the value of the U.S. Dollar has plummeted over the past 40 years. Remember when you could get 7 French francs, or 12,000 Italian lira, or 3.75 Swiss francs, for a Dollar? Those days are long gone. Today, the Dollar and the Swiss Franc are basically on a par: 1 to 1 (trust me, it's expensive for an American to have a meal there - I probably lost 5 pounds last August).
In the US, its all about selling eyeballs to advertisers. Gather more eyeballs and your ad rates can go up, providing more operating income. I would not be surprised if a $9.95 subscription to SP does not cover the cost of production or mail delivery.
In the UK, subscription and retail issue sales revenue are a much higher portion of operating revenue. Another difference is much less content on UK audiomag websites compared to US mags.
I get there shouldn't be much difference in cost for a digital subscriptions across continents. Consider that many of the components reviewed are for targeted markets, and some advertisers may not want a review of a UK focused component to be available to a US based reader. I would think more exposure is better, but then you have keen eyed readers who compare prices and wonder why components like speakers, phono cartridges or pair of headphones may cost 1000 pounds in the UK and $2000 in the US when there are no electrical differences to take into account.
I have read HiFi+ since the first or second issue. I noticed a distinct change when the founder sold to TAS. It is still a better mag than most, but in my opinion not a good as it used to be.
HFNRR, HiFi World, and HiFi Choice have fewer editorial pages than US magazines, and their reviews are about 50% shorter in length. At least for the first 2, brevity does not stand in the way of gaining an insight into how the component sounds in system.
I am surprised those who read What HiFi pay that much.
the import tax (EU to USA) probably plays a part. I have been a subscriber to Stereophile & TAS since 1993. Back in those days, the price was around $25/yr.
I have been a subscriber to HiFi+ and HiFi News & Record Review since 2010. I always buy the multi-year option for best savings.
Let's imagine that the American readers of UK magazines are an insignificant proportion of its sales ( and vice versa). Let's also imagine that the proportion of the population that is interested in audiophile pursuits is similar for each nation ( <1% of the population). Let us also assume that an American audio magazine and a British one cost similar sums to produce.
Stereophile has a population of 319,000,000 to draw upon to either break even or make a profit. A UK magazine has 63,000,000. So to be in the same financial situation a British magazine either has to cost more than an American one or sell more copies. The latter is constrained by population size so the result is...
It seems to me that US magazines have now set themselves to compete against web freebies involving often a single 'reviewer' with face-book like 'followers'. Pile em high prices don't lead to better finances or better journalism and open them up much more to advertising muscle. The Stereophile group even competes with itself via Stereophile and Audiostream.
Those who follow the advice of freebies pay nothing, yet they are exposed to the lures of instant 'best whatever' awards on reviewed products made by a single person.
For the cost of audio these days, the cost of HiFiNews is nothing, and if one is in Britain, one can even get useful free gifts on renewal!
The British magazines are beautifully printed on much better paper.
I have not looked at any audio publications from any country in a long while since I am not interested in new products. But when you get a British magazine you know you HAVE something, not something to leaf through and throw away.
For my trade the publication WORLD OF INTERIORS is unequalled in content and presentation. Very expensive but the value is obvious.
Or alternatively, why are the American magazines so cheap? TAS has a lot of sponsored content. Stereophile has a larger circulation than TAS, most likely more ad revenue, don't know how that compares to the British magazines. My understanding is that the British magazines do not have large ciculations.
Hi-Fi Plus is an anomaly in the British group, it's owned by TAS, and more like the American than the British magazines. It seems to be run on a shoe string. I recall browsing through one issue where practically all of the content was written by editor Alan Sircom, although now there is content sharing with TAS. It also regularly publishes Nordost cable reviews, which promptly end up on the Nordost Product Reviews site http://www.nordost.com/reviews.php (the Nordost page seems to be diversifying, at one time it was mostly Hi-Fi Plus reviews.)
Hi-Fi World, Hi-Fi Choice, and What Hi-Fi would appeal to a rather different audience than TAS, Stereophile or Hi-Fi Plus. They have a hobbyist and "how to" appeal that is reminiscent of Popular Mechanics or Popular Science in the 1960's-70's. They have columns where readers can write in for advice about their systems, they have comparative reviews, and they score equipment. They tend to focus on less expensive equipment. They can be fun to pick up and browse through, in a way that Stereophile and TAS are not.
HiFiNews earns a premium for its equipment tests and music reviews, which are first rate.
...had more music reviews they could charge more...
...they used to have lots of music reviews...main reason I ante'd up for a pricey imported subscription. Now they have maybe 2 or 3 albeit more extended. Not sure it's worth it any longer. Nice equipment pics however. And I love the "fragrance" of their ink.
It seems like a business decision to keep the price at an absolute minimal level to expand circulation as wide as possible.
a trade off between subscription revenue and advertising revenue based on circulation numbers.
Just cost it out; how much to produce a copy of Stereophile against the very low subscription price. They may even lose money on production cost!
Because in my opinion, HiFiNews is far better in terms of tests, record reviews and in it's journalism.
You pay peanuts and you get monkeys.
Hifi News and Record Reviews has been my favorite for a ling time
Bought an issue yesterday and it was $13
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