News In Brief 14.01.05

Tabloid cover price war looms

A new tabloid price war threatened to break out this week as the
Scottish Sun cut its price to 20p and the Star maintained a discounted
15p cover price. The Star dropped its price from the usual 35p last
week and has not revealed how long the cut will remain. Star sales have
begun to flag in recent months after several years of strong growth.The
Star steadily increased from a circulation of 502,647 in January 2000
to 901,979 in January this year, but since then it has slipped back to

The last red-top price war in 2002 cost both the Sun and the Mirror
millions as they both dropped their prices to 20p after the Star
dropped first to 10p.

Popular papers are particularly vulnerable to price cuts as 70 per cent of their income comes from copy sales.

Scottish Sun’s price cut is targeted in the Glasgow area. The move is
thought to be aimed chiefly at the Trinity Mirrorowned Daily Record
which sells 467,421 against the Scottish Sun ‘s 343,047. The Daily Star
sells 82,054 in Scotland.

Fleetline closes

The Fleetline News Service, which has covered courts and inquests in
London for 40 years, is closing on the retirement of proprietor and
editor Brian Steed. He said plans for the business to carry on had
fallen through due to invoices not being paid by the agency’s customers
for several months, sometimes up to a year.

Payment delays had also been caused by staff by-lines appearing on
Fleetline stories, resulting in them being crossed off invoices,
claimed Steed.

Wark defended

Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell has accused journalists of
professional jealousy of BBC Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark in the row
over his family holidays at her Majorcan villa. “There are journalists
and broadcasters in Scotland who are jealous of Kirsty Wark, who don’t
appreciate her success, who want to run her down,” said McConnell.

B2Bs upbeat

B2B publisher Incisive Media has announced that it expects to see a
good performance in its yearly results statement, due in March. Chief
executive Tim Weller said the outlook for 2005 was “encouraging” in the
business-tobusiness sector and that he was “confident of another year
of further strong growth”. B2B publishers Informa, Centaur
andWilmington have also released positive statements.

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