As with most big newspaper in the world, the Washington Post is constantly looking for new revenue streams that will help make the analog delivery system side of their business profitable again. Currently the company is in the black, largely due to their Kaplan Education unit.

One of their latest attempts is a program called Post Master Class, described as “unique learning experiences” created by “Washington Post experts renowned in their fields”.

So what is all that uniqueness and expertise worth?

According to the catalog, each of the seven asynchronous courses currently in the catalog costs $400, for what seems to be a collection of enhanced slide shows and videos. Hard to tell from the brief “look inside” provided.

However, since I’m still in the shrinking audience that pays for a Post “home delivery subscription”*, I get a deal. My special price for a course is only $40.

But, in the words of the late, great Billy Mays, wait there’s more!

The Post wants to wish me a happy new year and this week offers me a “special gift as a thank you” for being such a loyal subscriber. I can have any one of the courses for $0.

And we arrive back at the earlier question: what is real value of this “unique learning experience”?

The list price is $400, which they’re willing to discount to $40, so obviously the people at the Post think the real sales price is somewhere between those amounts (I wonder how many full-price registrations they’ve received).

Anyway, when you drop the bill to free, it becomes worth spending a little of my time (of some undetermined value) to try one of the classes.

I’ll let you know if I get more than my money’s worth in knowledge.

*Truth be known, I’d stop the paper tomorrow if I could get my wife to agree. :-)