In 2015, a couple of years after Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, the paper announced a new perk for Amazon Prime members: Discounted digital Post subscriptions. Prime members would get six months of digital Post access for free, and then would be charged $3.99 per month “indefinitely.” (At the time, a normally priced Digital post subscription was $9.99 per month.)
Seven years later, “indefinitely” seems to be over: Post-subscribing Amazon Prime members who were paying that $3.99/month rate have been informed over the past couple of days that their monthly price will triple to $12. That’s the normal rate currently offered through the Post’s site. (Separately, and confusingly, you can also still buy a Washington Post Kindle subscription, which “includes unlimited access to all content from The Washington Post Company website and The Washington Post Company mobile apps,” for $7.99 per month via Amazon’s site. That price is up from $5.99 per month a year ago.)
The price increase comes as the Post’s digital business appears to have stalled: The New York Times recently reported that the Post has lost paying digital subscribers since 2020 and that its digital ad revenue has fallen. I’ve asked the Post for comment and will update this if I hear back. The change implies, though, that the Post no longer sees enough of a strategic advantage in introducing Prime members to the paper that it’s willing to subsidize them. (It still runs plenty of general pricing specials, though.)
Prime members might have let a $3.99 monthly charge slide even if they weren’t reading the Post much. Will that change when the price goes up to $12 a month, entering Spotify and Netflix territory? We’ll see. (Or maybe we won’t, since the Post doesn’t publicly release subscription numbers.)
Meanwhile, the price of an Amazon Prime subscription rose to $139 per year last spring.