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25% price increase for News Limited Sunday newspapers

News Limited has announced an across the board increase of 25% for it’s capital city Sunday newspapers except for The Sunday Tasmanian which will experience a 10% price increase.

The price rise takes effect from July 21.

For almost fifteen years newsagents called on News Limited to increase cover prices with no success. It’s only when sales started to seriously decline that the company acted. Now, newsagents are wondering if recent rises, including this one for Sunday titles, are too much.  Several newsagents contacted me yesterday saying they expect sales to fall.

Customer responses to recent newspaper price increases suggest that there will be plenty of complaints. As for lost sales – I expect there will be some. I think we are approaching a tipping point, a price point beyond which customers will not pay for a print newspaper.

It’s disappointing that the announcement from News also heralds a decline, albeit small, in newsagent margin.

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  1. SHAUNS

    i welcome the price rise it should have already been at this price for the last few years ,but i do question such a huge jump in one hit, i guess they are trying to kill off printed papers .

    1 likes

  2. Mark Fletcher

    Shaun this is exactly the concern raised with me by several newsagents yesterday. The quantum of the rise is a considerable concern.

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  3. BAZ

    Lost a couple of bucks on the day, as no notice from the publisher re the price rise…well hey…i’m only a Newsagent…

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  4. shauns

    Baz it hasn’t happened yet -july 21st

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  5. Jenny

    I haven’t received this notice yet, when you say there is a small decline in margin, what is the new cost for NSW? (Can’t read it here)

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  6. Matt

    Good thing I opened up your blog, I had no idea price was going up. Wonderful communication system at HWT

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  7. peter stewart

    Baz might be referring to the sun herald from Fairfax increasing their price on Sunday (7th) without any notice at all.

    the notice went up on connect on the same day. no fax. no email. no note on key parcel……

    typical

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  8. Richard

    And according to Catrin Thomas’s letter it will take several months for them to work out if we should get an increase in delivery fees. Why months?

    3 likes

  9. BruceH

    Sun Herald in Sydney went to $2.50 last Sunday – not one customer complaint. Saturday Tele already costs $2 – no-one complains. Why worry about Sunday going up?

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  10. Gregg

    I think this is more of a case of News following Fairfax in price, after all the publishing arm is now a separate entity in the News empire.
    We did not have one complaint with the Sun Herald going up in price, but a few did make the comment that the Tele will no doubt go up in price soon.

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  11. Y&G

    Writing’s been on the wall for certain since the GCB and Tele went up a little while ago.
    Not so much the Fairfax, since they’ve been fairly regularly jacking up their cover prices without notice for a year or two, now – their ‘public’ process started much sooner in relation to making online news more palatable. Came as no surprise, then, last Sunday with the Sun Herald.

    However with the upcoming sharp rise for the Sunday papers, it certainly does seem that that’s the case for News. It has nothing to do with adding value to the product, and more to do with winding down print to nothing.
    As for the new magazine distribution schedule, well, no surprises there, either. We all saw that coming, too, didn’t we?

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  12. Y&G

    I forgot to add that our main customer base always has a bit to say about rises in their daily fix.
    Not a damn clue amongst them.

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  13. Angelo

    We received the odd comment here or there but no backlash at all. I suspect the Tele rise will be seen as following Fairfax but then again I think it is to be expected as well. In my view the rise to $2.50 whilst a relatively large one will still be seen as cheap. It is a fat paper with a lot of reading, magazine, TV guide etc that it is still seen as cheap. I do think that there will come a time when it will wind down but I can’t see it at $2.50 or even $3.

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  14. carol

    When will we be satisfied. Prices is too dear, fees are not high enough and so on. I’m happy to have a few more cents and I don’t see that there will be much complaint. On another note. Where do you buy BATA product from in North Queensland as they stopped supplying me this week because I can’t guarantee I will buy 10 cartons a week. I’m thinking I will most likely go out of them altogether.

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  15. jenny

    No decline in newsagent margin, I think you’ll find that $1.88 is rounded up to 2 figures ($1.875) and our statements will reflect the true cost.
    We were promised no cut in commissions.

    1 likes

  16. Mark Fletcher

    Click on the image for a larger version.

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  17. Dean

    Just got the fax. There is no decline in margin, at least in Victoria.

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  18. June

    Customers in SA happily pay $4 for a sunday age and $4.50 for a Sat SMH so
    I don’t think $2.50 for a Sunday Mail will
    faze them at all.
    It is a long overdue price rise and it has
    cost the newsagent dearly.
    Here in SA we went for 9 years without a price rise (during which time all other parts of the business increased – wages,
    petrol etc) and it has contributed greatly
    to the demise of newsagents as we didn’t keep pace with other industries.

    4 likes

  19. ted

    Mark…has it been confirmed that the margin has been preserved everywhere? I’m not sure what enlarging the image is supposed to show.

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  20. Mark Fletcher

    Ted someone said they could not read the image – hence that comment. The margin comment was made to me by three newsagents who forwarded the doc to me earlier yesterday.

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  21. Peter

    I have and advice from Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne 3Decimal Places and exactly 25% for a Newsagent and Sydney 2 decimal places rounded up. I would suggest its all in the rounding and commission has not changed. However I will check latter.

    As to the Price Increase its about time.

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  22. Chris

    A price rise is a price rise. Why be all doom and gloom about it? Why think it is to end the print run? Maybe it is to extend the life of the print run by actually making money from it. Lets be positive about it and about the product or your negativity will be reflected in how your customers view the product.

    6 likes

  23. Clay

    I think the big issue with the price rise is that newsagents in SA have been asking for an increase in delivery fees for years and one response we hear, among others has been – Oh no, we can’t do that as the circulation might decline! Well, I think this might have the same result. I’m sure the cost of producing the product has increased, but the cost to deliver has also. I’m sure they are making plenty out of all the advertising that’s in the paper yet we are locked into charging the same old fees.

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  24. Dennis Robertson

    Mark,

    I have to disagree with the comment that “we are approaching a tipping point, a price point beyond which customers will not pay for a print newspaper.”

    I subscribe to the view we will see a small decline in sales as a consequence of this price increase, but not even close to a big decline. Something around a low single digit percentage is more likely to occur.

    When this happens, it will establish we are quite a distance from the dreaded tipping point.

    I think it’s the same with digital that there is this anxious feeling that it’s all about to happen now. This feeling takes a grip on all of us as it has done with myself over the past few days. Then I have a look at the new publisher subscribers that are coming on in my downloads since the new digital website went up for the Advertiser and I have to reconsider those anxieties.

    There is no doubt that print decline is inevitable and that digital will ultimately replace it, but is the decline, currently, all to do with digital and how fast will it happen?

    In my opinion, whenever I get email offers from Crikey there is a hint of ‘k-tel steak knives’ type desperation in what is ever increasingly shrill offers to get me to sign up. I don’t think the new media are even close to getting models or cost bases right.

    I have examined my own head to see if it is in the sand on this one and I believe the printed Newspaper industry is a bit like any industry in that it is like the candlestick maker and it will, like, most other industies, eventually evolve into something else.

    I also believe it has many many years to go as a valuable service/item that is useful and gives pleasure to many Australians.

    So we should be ready for alternatives, but not be over-anxious to kill off something valuable before it’s ready. At the moment, right now, there is nothing even close to being capable of taking over from print media and satisfying a huge number of Australians.

    Maybe, a phrase I heard recently used in this context is appropriate, maybe most Australians remain ‘under-whelmed’ by what digital has to offer at present.

    BTW I do really enjoy some things digital like The Conversation, some of Seth Godin and well, this site. 🙂

    Dennis

    5 likes

  25. Mark Fletcher

    Dennis, news will evolve. The print medium is the challenge – the cost of production and distribution.

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  26. jenny

    Well said Dennis! Am looking forward to Sunday week, will get a few grumbles but I bet 99% will still purchase the Sunday Telegraph.
    $2.50 is not a lot of money!
    Not one complaint last week when the Sun Herald increased.
    We have a five year plan and income from newspapers is part of that plan, and no my head is not in the sand.

    1 likes

  27. Pingback: News Corp Australia increases the cover prices of Sunday tabloids - mUmBRELLA

  28. Dennis Robertson

    Jenny,

    good to hear, nasty stuff that sand, gets into all the wrong places. More like mud lately in your neck of the woods I hear.

    Mark,

    Spot on, production and distribution costs. That’s why I applauded the major magazine distributors for doing something positive and reducing delivery day numbers to two. For about 8 years now I have been distributing magazines at the same time as the morning paper so as to improve production/profitability.

    Newspaper distribution costs are also the reason for my almost complete disappointment with News Corp’s Sydney executives utter failure to get the T2020 outcome job done in Brisbane.

    Given that the T2020 tendering process was to include newsagents costs at last, it was a vital end play to a process that started many years ago and one that a lot of Newsagents had also put effort into.

    So I could put up a list of what I see as possible reasons for the failure of the News Corporation initiative in Brisbane, but I do wonder about the leadership skills in Sydney as small family Newsagent businesses look to the global giant for some sign of a lead or an indication that they have an interest in improving productivity and reducing costs for the last 10 yards of distribution of their product.

    It beggars belief that these executives do not appear to have much interest in engaging with Newsagents with a view to reducing costs, by improving processes, in that sector, which of course will reduce their own costs.

    If they have stopped being interested in distribution in a serious manner because digital will save them, then that’s a serious mistake by Sydney, because digital ain’t working for them and won’t for a long time.

    Does anyone know the reason(s) for News Corp’s failure in Brisbane? or their complete lack of interest in trying the principles of T2020 somewhere where it has a better chance of succeeding… Like dare I say it Vic or SA?

    Also allowing the local News Corp executives and crew a larger say in how it all goes down would auger well for any intended success for a revitalised T2020 trial/effort.

    Persistence can be a great attribute where there is desire for a planned outcome.

    Dennis

    2 likes

  29. Mark Fletcher

    Dennis the lack of information from News can only leave us to speculate and that’s unfortunate.

    I suspect that the discovery was the extent to which the commercial needs of distribution newsagents and News Limited not being as aligned as they anticipated.

    1 likes

  30. wally

    We had increases for Weekend west a while ago as well as weekly papers but had little effect other than a few moans and groans. It is interesting who we sell papers to. Many are tradies on a break (smoko or lunch) generally young people and old timers. Probable the least likely would be the city workers and I guess they have a train ride and a ipad or something or perhaps they get them at the train station. Not all electronics will suit readers and the paper is handy as you can put it down and pickit up. I am with Dennis in that a slow decline is likely and with all those others who say they are losing sales because they dont have stock. perhaps the paper people should look at the mag people and provide more stock. on the one hand we ahve to much stock and on the other to little.

    We had the promo people giving us papers to hand out FREE in the afternoons to promote the value of the paper. Then the distribution people worked out we were selling less papers based on the returns of papers purchased and cut the supply. So for the next 4 weeks we were short of papers for our regular readers AND our NEW readers as we didnt have stock. Net result from the PROMO less paper sales BECAUSE of the promo. These are the marketing gurus that we deal with. Why have a promo if you reduce the stock.

    1 likes

  31. Gregg

    We have just received our promo material for the Sunday Telegraph for a give away comp to coincided with the price increase this weekend.
    Great idea to reduce possible lost sales and to steal some sales from Fairfax, but one thing that has irritated me for some time and a lot of customers is the look of the mast head and the wording WE’RE FOR SYDNEY and now it is on the promo posters. What brainiac thought up this idea, what there is no life outside of Sydney. So News want to ignore 45% of the population of NSW.
    The guys in Melbourne at least had the sense to have WE’RE FOR VICTORIA.

    1 likes

  32. Allan Wickham

    Gregg,

    NSW= Newcastle, Sydney, Wooloongong. Good luck if you live anywhere else.
    When I was a Publican in country NSW we always got shafted because we were on the wrong side of the blue mountains.

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  33. h

    They are just being honest Gregg !

    0 likes

  34. Julie Mathers

    Sorry Sunday Telgraph, I was happy paying $2, and wouldn’t have been concerned if you rose the price to $2.20. But $2.50 is a large hit. I’ve stopped buying it.
    Thanks for the many years and the horoscope page in the magazine.
    Ill stick to news.com and smh.com for my news now.

    1 likes

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