Monday, July 16, 2007

Chronic Subscription Fatigue Syndrome

Brent Schlender, Fortune editor-at-large based in the West Coast, has identified an illness that afflicts techies in general, and media junkies in particular: Chronic Subscription Fatigue Syndrome, which Schlender defines as "a 2lst-century malady loosely related to mouse-induced carpal tunnel syndrome and to the neurological disorder that habitual videogamers call the 'twitch.' It's the kind of infirmity that sneaks up on you, sort of like 'feature creep' - the slow accumulation of arcane bells and whistles that transforms perfectly usable software like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop into an intimidating, leaden mass.

"Every month I pay a dozen separate bills, mainly for various digital communications services - landline telephone, long-distance, cell, broadband, cable and roaming Wi-Fi, not to mention digital content from Netflix and download allowances for my daughters at the iTunes Music Store, etc.

"All told, my monthly subscription nut comes to $863.09. On top of that, I spend $1,812 a year on magazine and newspaper and online services, ranging from satellite radio to NBA League Pass to New York Times crosswords. That's $12,168 a year just for subscriptions. I wish I'd never counted. But the first step in conquering CSFS is confronting the fear." Link:

I certainly understand the staggering nature of CSFS. Just this week, in cleaning up the global world headquarters, I noticed about a dozen different newspapers and magazines cluttering things up. That doesn't include online subscriptions.

What's interesting from a PR perspective, as a bonus, was this: Schlender's subscriptions include "a few business-related publications (Business Week, Wired, Forbes and Newsweek) and annual online subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal ($99) and (The New York Times Select premium content ($50)."

I've always known that business reporters at major magazines know about the competition -- particularly stories on clients that appeared elsewhere -- but it's nice to see a reporter actually acknowledge that they spend as much time poring over the media as much as we do.

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