September 23, 2015 Last Updated 8:39 am

Amazon email to Prime members begins promotion of free digital access to The Washington Post

Amazon Prime members are being offered six months free digital access to the Post’s website and apps, then a discounted monthly rate after the trial period ends

The Washington Post is bound to see a dramatic jump in its digital edition circulation thanks to the start of a new Amazon promotion.

WaPo-Prime-emailAmazon has begun sending out promotional emails to Prime members, offering six months free of the Post. Prime members who click through on the email are sent to a page where their Prime membership is confirmed, then are asked to approve a credit card purchase for $3.99 per month charge that will be incurred following the end of the promotional period.

Amazon, like Apple, has the advantage of having these credit cards already in their system, making it easy to get readers to sign up.

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, of course, is the owner of the Post, having bought the paper for $250 million in 2013. The new Prime promotion is the most dramatic move yet in tying the two ventures together.

The Prime promotion is strictly about digital, with the reader getting a way through the Post’s metered paywall (which is pretty easy to avoid, in any case), as well as a way to log into the Post’s apps for the Kindle, as well as iOS and Android devices.

While The Verge seems to think this is a play for avoid ad blockers, it is hard to see this way as the web remains a big part of the digital offering. Instead, I think the idea here is to gain a more national audience, one similar to that the NYT.

WaPo-digitalOf the NYT’s 2.178 million daily circulation (Monday-Friday), 1.519 million is digital non-replica. This segment is made of of the web, as well as the smartphone and tablet apps the paper sells. 1.085 million of this digital circulation is paid (the rest qualified). Total print circulation is just under 600K.

Over at the Post, total daily circulation is 417,989 of which the vast majority is print.

Can the Post catch up? Yes, because much of the NYT’s digital circulation comes from outside New York State. In fact, only 206K is from the paper’s home state. The NYT has always been far more of a national paper that the Post, but digital has been the real differentiator, and the majority of this is the web.

(Note: the above comparison is not quite apples to apples as the NYT has submitted new quarterly information to the AAM, while the Post’s data comes from their last Publisher’s Statement. It is quite possible that the Post’s digital numbers have grown in the first half of the year as they have promoted both the web and their new app.)

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