Ad woes force Guardian to raise cover price

The Guardian today raised its cover price to £1 bringing it level with the Independent.

The price rise makes the Guardian and Independent the two most expensive mainstream national newspapers. Only the FT is dearer at £2 per copy.

All of the quality national newspapers have steeply raised their cover prices over the last two years in response to falling advertising revenue. The Times and Telegraph both now cost 90p a day.

The Guardian price rise is likely to impact on sales. The Independent has been losing sales steeply since it raised its cover price to £1 last September.

In December last year, when the cover price difference between the Guardian and Independent was 20p, The Guardian appeared to be gaining sales at the expense of the Independent and was up 0.45 per cent year on year to 358,379.

In July, the Guardian’s average daily sale was 328,773, down 2.7 per cent year on year. The Independent dropped 19.7 per cent to 189,013.

Guardian News and Media editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger wrote in the paper today that the price rise was unavoidable due to “chronic downturn in the advertising market”.

He said: “Recent and long-term pressures on the media industry mean internationally based news operations such as ours are increasingly rare. But The Guardian is committed to coverage that goes beyond the parochial; to reporting the world by staying out in the world.

“By trimming our own costs and asking a little more at the newsstand, we can maintain the first class writing and trusted reporting that fills these pages…

“We have no wealthy proprietor or shareholders, The Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust, which existed purely to support journalism in the progressive spirit and tradition of the paper founded in 1821.”

To those who sign up as subscribers a 38 per cent seven-day discount is offered across The Guardian and Observer, and a 32 per cent discount is offered to those who sign up just to The Guardian. A 24 per cent saving is offered for those who subscribe to the Saturday Guardian and the Observer.

Guardian News and Media made losses of £36.8m in the year to June compared with £26.4m in the year before.

The company is currently drawing up a list of cost-saving proposals for the next three years.

One of the options under consideration is the closure of The Observer.

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