It seems somewhat inevitable to me that the print newspaper will die soon with readerships falling and prices rising with the readership turning to the internet for news. I do not particularly like this forecast as I still enjoy getting my information from paper to getting it from a screen. I am less able to concentrate on websites than with a newspaper the possibilities elsewhere on the web often distract and lead astray. I can guarantee I am not alone in this respect and yet the people who make the papers seem to be doing everything they can to scare off readers. They seem to be in the midst of a vicious pricing war whereby the winner is the one that charges the most, in the current economic climate this does not make sense. Two years ago I used to get the Independent a few times a week, I enjoyed it for the news it printed and the way it was laid out. Then they put their prices up and I lost interest. I then moved onto the Times and stuck with that until recently it moved from 70p to 80p and now to 90p event the traditionally lower price Guardian is now 90p also with the independent now £1. So what am I a valid customer who wants daily news at what I consider a reasonable price meant to do? Hmm I know, I’ll give up and go online for my news… thus dwindling their readership further and speeding their demise.
A couple of the papers have got the right idea and either remained the same price or lowered it. If The Sun actually had any real news in it and it was written in a way that made it readable then at the price of 20p a day I would be there immediately. The Mail is 50p too, I could get the Daily Mail which is apparently the UK’s top newspaper (because of price?) for two days before it costs the same as the independent on one. I cannot do this, however, because I do not care about house prices and I don’t mind immigrants.
If you want therefore to get quality news you have to bare a heavy premium. This trend was all started three years ago by the Financial Times when it raised its price from £1 to £1.50. The other papers followed suit over the next year with smaller rises. The FT is now even more pricey at £1.80 but their target market can afford such blows to the wallet… for as long as their jobs still exist anyway. In this time of crunch the only way to gain readers is not by making yourself look better than the others by being more expensive but by appealing to those who can only afford to buy at a reasonable rate. An article on Press Gazette says “Traditionally “quality newspapers” derive about two thirds of their revenue from advertising and a third from the cover price.” If the market is shrinking and the circulation also getting smaller then that will discourage advertisers who will also turn further to online incentives.
So my appeal is thus:
If a “quality” newspaper wants to maintain itself in this time of recession lower your prices again back down to 70p or lower still and your circulations will be higher. I do not care which it is, Times or Independent if either lowered their prices back to where they were but two years ago I would buy daily. It is not even that I am financially unable to pay for them it is just out of principal that such hefty price rises are not worth my money.