Buy a paper... or a pint?
By Simon Hacker | 12th May 2023
You might not read all about it on their front pages, but the small print showing the counter price tells it all.
Both on our doorstep in Gloucestershire and nationally, newspapers are asking for record prices from their readers.
In January, the Press Gazette reported that cover prices had gone up 14% in the last year and Punchline's latest check with a Gloucester newsagents indicates that the escalation is showing no signs of slowing down, with many papers now costing more than the price of a pint of beer.
Keeping up to date with the day's local news in the Citizen has just risen from £2.20 to £2.40, while the Western Daily Press now costs £1.75 - a rise of 10p.
Reflecting the rise nationally, red top The Mirror is now ten pence more, at £1.30, while The Mail has also giving readers a 10p surprise rise to £1.
One Gloucester newsagent told Punchline: "What's surprising is that most customers do not question or even notice the marginal rise, but if they are buying the entire week editions of a newspaper, that cost does add up."
Indeed, anyone minded to read every issue of the weekday Sun newspaper would find they are now spending £3.75 a week, equivalent to £15 per month. But that might sound cheap to Telegraph readers: the weekly issue rose to £3 early this year and the Sunday edition went up 50p to £4.00.
So what's driving the ever-rising price of a paper? In July last year, the UK newspaper giant Reach announced that it had experienced a 65% annual jump in newsprint costs and the raw material that's needed is a hard commodity, historically, to control in news production.
Allied to that, ABC figures that monitor actual sales of newspapers both nationally and locally, indicate a gradually declining market, with more and more readers shifting online.
Press Gazette said: "Local daily newspaper sales in the UK fell by an average of 19% year-on-year in the second half of 2022 according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC)."
The press industry observer says cover price inflation "appears to have been slightly ahead of the UK's national average, which hit 10.5% in December."
But it added: "Still, only one newspaper title, the FT Weekend (cover price: £4.80), is more expensive than the average pint of draught lager (£4.24 in December, according to the Office for National Statistics)."
Copyright 2023 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.