Voluntary subscription program allows reader support for free distribution papers

Free distribution has been at the heart of Glacier’s community newspapers in B.C.’s Lower Mainland for decades.

But what if readers were given the chance to make their own direct contribution to the only media outlets dedicated to covering their communities?

That’s what’s happening with Glacier’s new voluntary subscription program.

As the business model for free newspaper distribution shifts, with both print and online advertising challenged by foreign-owned online platforms, Glacier is giving its readers in the Lower Mainland the opportunity to put their money towards hometown community coverage.

The Delta Optimist Subscription Club debuted in August 2016, with hundreds of subscribers signing up to contribute up to $50 per year in support of their local community newspaper in exchange for a regular exclusive coupon sheet with great deals from local merchants and a chance to win a $500 gift card.

The program was so successful it was adapted for the Tri-City News, serving Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, as the Tri-City Love program in September, and plans to expand the program to other Lower Mainland communities are coming in the next few months.

“Voluntary subscription allows our most committed readers to support journalism in their home communities directly, while allowing us to maintain free door-to-door delivery to the entire community,” says Alvin Brouwer, President of Glacier’s Lower Mainland Publishing division. “They benefit with exclusive offers from our local merchants, while all citizens benefit from continued access to unique, relevant, local stories about the place they live.

“It’s a win for everyone.”