As predicted [WAMN: 27-Sep-02], The Times, Rupert Murdoch’s UK daily flagship, yesterday (Monday) followed in the footsteps of its Sunday sibling and increased its cover price by five pence to £0.45 ($0.71; €0.72) – reverting to the rate it last charged in October 1993 when it slashed its price to £0.30 to undercut main rival, the Daily Telegraph.
This costly stratagem enjoyed partial success, with sales of The Times nearly doubling but still well behind those of the Telegraph - which remains Britain's top-selling broadsheet. It also provoked complaints of predatory pricing and an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading [WAMN: 08-Jul-02].
The Times’ decision to up its price was almost certainly triggered by the success of the Sunday Times which last month, following a makeover, relaunched with a cover price hiked by 16.6% to £1.40 and promptly increased weekly sales by around 40,000 copies[WAMN: 19-Sep-02].
Daily titles The Telegraph and The Independent also increased their prices (both to £0.55) last week with neither losing sales in the short term.
Says chief executive of Independent News & Media's UK titles Ivan Fallon: “Newspapers are still dramatically underpriced and we have a long way to go until we get up to commercial prices. It does clearly indicate the price war is over and newspaper groups are going to price their products more reasonably.”
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff