UK: Posh Papers Prosper Despite Price Proliferation

27 September 2002

The Great British Middle Class has shrugged-off cover price increases for two of their preferred national daily broadsheet reads – The Independent and the Daily Telegraph. Both upped their prices on Monday this week, both by five pence to £0.55 ($0.86; €0.88) and both without discernable effect on sales.

The Telegraph made itself even more a hostage to fortune by also increasing the price of its Saturday edition by 5p to £0.90 on the very day that hundreds of thousands of its core country-dwelling readership converged on London to support the Countryside Alliance – a mélange of bucolic interests defending the twin causes of ‘Liberty’ [to hunt foxes] and ‘Livelihood’ [handouts to farmers by the taxpayer]. Despite the price hike and the absence of a massive chunk of its rural readership at an urban street party, the paper lost only 8,000 readers that day.

And earlier this month another national Sunday broadsheet, Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times, which targets the ABC1 socio-economic groups, launched a redesign, upped its cover price by 16.6% to £1.40 ($2.17; €2.22) - and promptly gained another 40,000 readers [WAMN: 19-Sep-02]. Weekday sibling The Times is expected to follow suit in the near future.

Commented Steve Goodman head of press buying at the London office of MediaCom: “I still think the quality newspapers are underpriced as a commodity to the consumer. We wouldn’t expect a 5p increase to have much effect. Even if they do lose a few readers it wouldn't be a problem for us – the kind of reader that baulks at a 5p price increase is not a major loss to advertisers.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff