Pay-per-view: Express on the ledge; Mr Live Wire tries to talk newspaper down

Paging Minister of the People and Social Development Christine Newallo-Hosein to the Brian Lara Promenade!

The Trinidad Express Newspaper climbed on a ledge in downtown Port of Spain this morning and threatened to jump back into the next millennium. And, bizarrely, it asked its readers to join in.

On page three of today’s print version of the Sunday Express, the country’s most read news source posted a “Notice to our loyal readers” which informed them that: “with effect from tomorrow the price of all our publications will be increased by $1.”

Photo: Former Trinidad Express reporter Anika Gumbs. (Courtesy Stabroek News)
Photo: Former Trinidad Express reporter Anika Gumbs.
(Courtesy Stabroek News)

Does that mean departed journalist-cum-honey pot Anika Gumbs was subsidising the newspaper? Or is it that the relatively tame pace of the 2015 General Election campaign is affecting the company directors’ Christmas plans?

Express also had a message for its local online readers. It said: “—.”

That’s right. There was not a word to well over a hundred thousand online readers who made Express the number one online news site in the country. Only a paywall.

But Mr Live Wire is sure that somewhere on the company’s website is an encrypted message that reads: “Go £@*& yourself!”

It might be the most controversial split since DJ Lurbz and his mistress decided that they should probably call time on their home-made movie career—several months into her marriage to Minister Two Pull.

And surely it is the most nerve-wracking suicide scene since actress Marion Cotillard (Mal) ignored Leonardo Di Caprio (Dom Cobb) in “Inception” and tried to jump into an alternative reality.

Photo: Don't do it, Mal... Trinis will never subscribe!
Photo: Don’t do it, Mal… Trinis will never subscribe!

Express explained its decision to hide online content behind a paywall.

“It is important that we make the necessary investments in talent and technology on an ongoing basis,” stated the daily newspaper.

It was a revealing insight into the thinking of the country’s largest media consortium.

The Express is explaining to its print readers why they should pay more to subsidise an online product that most will no longer read. The company, as a strategy, is literally shaking down its base of paying customers—between 40,000 to 70,000 of them—to improve its ability to not serve its largest audience.

Pay-per-view? Really? After that Floyd “Money” Mayweather fiasco?

Even Rodney Charles would probably think that strategy was nuts.

You see Express’ daily print readership is 70,000 at its absolute peak. But the internet market penetration online is at least 500,000 within Trinidad and Tobago’s boundaries alone. And the Express is number one online.

So what the Trinidad Express is really facing is not a cash deficit. It is a shortage of ideas regarding how to turn a great strength—a large online audience—into revenue.

Photo: Don't jump! We need you!
Photo: Don’t jump! We need you!

Instead of a more forward-thinking approach, Mr Live Wire was stunned to see CCN CEO Shida Bolai—with the presumed backing of OCM managing director Dawn Thomas—emerge on a ledge at Express House with dozens of mortified reporters and columnists.

“Don’t jump, Shida! At least let Sunity Maharaj’s columns go as a sign of good faith!”

Somewhere in Siparia, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar probably read the newspaper and then fired off a text to Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal:

“Guess we won’t need that Defamation and Libel Act after all. LOLZ!”


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About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    This is one faithful customer who’s faithful no more. I’ve switched to Guardian and considering Newsday.

  2. I am sooooooo GLAD that someone is speaking up against this nonsense. I couldn’t believe that I had to now pay to access my favorite columnists at the Express online. Due to the Guardian also requesting payment to read some of its columnists I didn’t read the Guardian online for years. Now it seems like I would have to do the same with the Express…STOP reading it also!

  3. Boycott Express Newspapers T&T

    We the people of T&T need to take a stand against businesses that unfairly and unjustly raise their prices. We make this stand by simply STOP being a consumer of their product.

    Express has hit us like a thief in the night and announced that they are raising their price for newspapers by one (1) dollar.

    Express has taken advantage of the present political climate, where focus is shifted from holistic national issues to that of political bickering. This has a stark resemblance to PP’s Section 34 on the brink of when TnT was patriotically celebrating its hard earn 50th anniversary and to PNM’s clandestine Scholarship Slush Fund to a foreign national, during the time when the country was mesmerized by the Summit of the Americas, followed by CHOGM.

    No proper explanation was given, however come Monday 17th August 2015, a price hike to $3.00 was introduced per newspaper.

    However, for the past three (3) years, Express has recorded a “clean sweep” against the other two daily’s, according to the following 3 weblinks:-…/_Express__tops_all_in_read……/Express-tops-all-in-reader……/Express-in-clean-sweep-284…

    Such, a ‘sweep’ can obviously mean more sales. More sales; means more profit…Obviously!

    Furthermore, Express have also pride themselves as having the highest number of readers by way of newspaper sale, which is the basis for a higher subscribed advertisement cost, to prospective clients wishing to release an add.

    So is external market cost really a factor?

    Therefore, until then one can make the sacrifice and settle for reading news online and when needed; simply add 1 more dollar and buy both a Newsday and a Guardian, until Express can justifiably explain their hike in price or more so; reduce their price.

    Please share and let us as Trinis, finally stand up as ONE, to Big Business’s unfair treatment.

    Boycott Express Newspapers T&T

    Support by clicking and sharing the following link:

  4. You can return to the past but chances are you’ll be making the trip alone. First law of sci-fi time travel.

  5. Ye L – we talk about this all the time – wired always been on the right part. Newspapers are a dying breed. They continuously depend on my parents and grandparents generation and the very small parts of any country that is not computer literate to buy their papers.

    When they die out they are finished cause my – the under 30 generation don’t read papers – they check online websites for their news or sports.

    The ones who putting up these payed fire walls essentially admitting defeat.

    Papers either have to take que from wired, ESPN, BBC, Sportsmax etc of this world and transition into websites or die that slow death

  6. Yes. That’s true Colin Benjamin. And we do plan to expand first thing next year.
    But information on many sports and so on will become limited online.
    Wired868 is already doing a good job on local football (methinks!) so that won’t change.

  7. This could be a perfect opportunity for wired868 to permanently take readers from express at least when it comes to sports me thinks Lasana Liburd Lou-Ann Sankar

  8. Only other paper in Caribbean that I know that do this for a long time is Guyana Stabroek news. While Barbados nation and Jamaica Gleaner did it recently but stopped after a while.

    I believe it doesn’t make sense to try this in Caribbean because I don’t see people paying to read it. Unless express believes they can enough money from diaspora readers who religiously read their publication

    In uk I know the famous London times does this also – but I don’t know that it makes them much money

  9. Free is not free.
    Someone has to pay for it.

    Journalists need to be paid.
    To be paid you need to act like a journalist and not a blogger.

  10. Fair point Strauss and Juliet Solomon. But bear in mind that “free” is a business model too and over a century old.
    Some papers and magazines are trying to make you pay extra because they are trying to preserve the print edition. If you think about it, you will recognize the obvious flaw there and the inevitable end.
    Wired868 is my full time job by the way. This is how I make a living. And it is totally free and will remain that way.
    Maybe I will create a virtual tip jar one day. But what I ask of my readers is to interact with the content (which enhances it), share the content and have a sense of ownership in our direction.
    Companies pay to market their goods and services to my readers. And my readers benefit because that gets them improved content and they see that I never sell them short in terms of quality.

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