As newspapers and other media outlets have struggled to bring in revenue, they've begun offering a different kind of paid service to customers: wine clubs. Most have little to do with their publications' wine columns; rather, these services compete directly with online wine retailers.
In September last year, the Wall Street Journal joined the likes of Forbes and Sunset to become the first countrywide paper with a wine club. For $69.99, customers get a 12-bottle case of wines from around the world through WSJwine. Despite the unconventional business model, other competitors soon followed suit.
Last month, The New York Times Company introduced its very own wine club. The company is "hoping to delve further into our audience and bring them products and services that basically enhance the bond with The New York Times," the company's VP of strategy said. Earlier this week, the nation's top-selling newspaper, USA Today, jumped on the bandwagon with the USA Today Wine Club.
It seems that newspapers are hoping readers might pay for wine, even if they aren't willing to pay for exclusive news content. Would you be inclined to subscribe to a wine club run by a paper?