|Watchtower and Awake!
original post by Amazing
In another thread the point was made that the WTS is ending subscriptions to the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. ISP rightly commented the following, "The WTS gets double payment for the mags from the R+F......so subscribers are not cost effective!"
Decades ago "Subscriptions" made sense because it was at that time the best way to get their literature to people who showed interest, and it paved the way for what used to be called "Back Calls", now known as "Return Visits" (An inspiring modification in terms)
Ostensible Motives: The Society use to encourage JWs to also have their own individual subscriptions. This was done so that JWs could 'get the meat in due season' early and have time to digest the deep spiritual truths. - Gag, spit, cough.
Then, many years ago, sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, the Society had us cancel our subscriptions and get our personal copies at the Kingdom Hall, but they still encouraged non-JWs to keep their subscriptions. This was done because supposedly "demand" exceeded their ability to keep up until they could get more printing equipment. However, no one ever explained that the same number of magazines would have to be printed, and that the only savings was the cost of mailing.
The Great Apostasy: Many former JWs have experienced sudden cancelation of their subscriptions, with no explanation provided. And since then, getting a subscription has been more difficult, as it requires a visit from local JWs - thus assuring that the subscriber is not a former JW (Apostate).
What I think is going on: I can no longer be sure since I have not been involved with the JWs for several years, but I suspect there are a number of factors affecting magazine subscriptions, and I have some suspecion that there will be some additional changes:
1. As ISP stated, there is now more economy in not having subscriptions, since all their literature is free of charge. I believe that this is a very realistic view. Cutting costs, especially when the customer base is erroding - or failing to expand - make good business sense.
2. The Society is likely very frustrated with the way ex-JWs are able to make excellent criticisms of their literature, and so they may find that by ending subscriptions, they reduce the chances that ex-JWs will get their hands on it - and thus reduce the level and frequency of critical expose' that gets posted on the Internet.
3. Ending Subscriptions will also allow for a stronger basis to continue "Return Visits" and attempt to convert the Subscriber to get magazines by personal delivery, and weed out possible ex-JWs who might be getting magazines. The only exception that they will not be able to control are those JWs who do not agree with the organization's teachings and policies - and send out copies to ex-JWs on the side.
4. I believe that eventually, the Society is going to find ways to curtail the waste of literature by JWs. It is NO secret that many, if not most, JWs order more literature than they can possibly place at the doors, and so it gets stored in boxes in the garage. To cut costs, I think the Society will change the door-to-door procedure to make an initial friendly call, and then bring back magazines to bonafide "Return Visits." And then allow JWs to only order enough study copies for their families, and established Return Visits. It may even come down to the PO or FSO checking in and questioning JWs about their literature orders, and cutting those they feel are not really using the magazines.
5. I have no doubt that the Society will find a way to combine the Watchtower and Awake! into one "monthly" magazine. This would cut their costs nearly 75%, and they could still get out most of the information they want. Why do I believe this?
First, the twice monthly for each magazine meant that 4 copies went into the mail. It kept the JWs eager (ha!) for more and more - like an addiction - and it kept constant contact with non-JW Subscribers. In marketing, frequent contact is very important to keep your business name in front of your customers. When times get tight, you make certain sacrifices - and this is true of the Society. Money is getting tighter for them - at least the flow of cash from JWs - and to keep from dipping too deep into their cash reserves, the Society will find ways to be more cost effective.
6. Unlike decades ago when the JWs were small but growing and the "demand" justified a lot of literature and subscriptions. Today, however, the JWs are a fairly large denomination, and their growth relative to the population has all but peaked. In business that have grown beyond the 'early-infant-mortality' stage, especially network marketing schemes which the JWs fit into nicely, tend to slow down, and are forced to cut costs because demand levels off.
7. I also have no doubt that the more recent trends to slow the size and numbers of new hardbound books at conventions will continue - smaller books, fewer of them and eventually, they will reduce the size and frequecy of conventions. When I was first involved, our Circuit Assemblies were twice a year for 3 full days 9 AM to 9 PM, and District Conventions were 5 full days 9 AM to 9 PM. Before I was a JW, the large Conventions were 7 or 8 days. I suspect that they will end the District Conventions, and stick to one small and one large Circuit Convention each year - and maybe have 2 Day District Conventions once every 5 years.
Time will tell. But in time, I also believe that the Watchtower religion will be forced to move mainstream. I am neutral as to what they end up doing - but my instinct tells me that they, like the Mormons and others will find that survival will demand they do so. It is just good business sense ... for Money is their God, and how to get it is their real religion. - Amazing
Edited by - Amazing on 11 December 2001 18:18:59