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Newsagents hit out at cover price rises at two titles

Newsagents have hit out at regional publisher Newsquest after cover price increases at two further titles were not passed on.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents said the price of the Hampshire Chronicle has gone up from 70p to £1, while the Bournemouth Echo costs 20p more each day – up to 65p on weekdays and 85p on Saturdays.

But the organisation said the retail terms have been slashed so newsagents will receive a smaller cut for each copy sold.

It comes after the NFRN earlier this month criticised other Newsquest titles for putting up cover prices but not passing on pro rata terms to its members.

The NRFN said the retail margin for the Hampshire Chronicle had been cut from 25pc to 20pc, while the retail margin for the Bournemouth Echo was down from 22.6pc to 21pc.

NFRN vice-president Colin Fletcher, who has a store in Hampshire, said: “This is yet another kick in the teeth for independent newsagents who have given unstinting support to these local papers.

“The Hampshire Chronicle is one of the oldest newspapers in the country and the Bournemouth Echo is well established in the town, but both are treating their readers and newsagents with huge contempt.

“Such price hikes, accompanied by income reductions for retailers who are already suffering from rising costs, is nothing short of despicable and it’s possible that both papers could ultimately fall on their own swords as a result of these actions.”

The NRFN said the latest cover price rises meant this was the tenth time this year that increases at Newsquest titles had not been accompanied by pro rate terms. It added margins had only been maintained in seven instances.

Cover price increases at other Newsquest titles have seen the Bury Times increase from 60p to £1 and the Hereford Times rise from 80p to £1.20, which led to a storm of protest on its Facebook page.

Newsquest had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.


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  • April 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Newsquest has also just increased cost of Bucks Free Press from 60 to 90p and shed its editor, Steve Cohen plus moved Bucks staff from High Wycombe to faraway Watford. Circulation had dropped from over 30,000 to around 18,000 in recent years.

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  • April 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I’ve just seen the “exciting new-look” Bournemouth Echo which has apparently had a “brilliant new makeover” to justify its price hike.
    It looks like the same old rubbish they’ve been pedalling for the past couple of years to me only with picture by-lines and a few extra labels.
    I’m baffled! According to editor Toby Granville in a statement to readers “Your new bumper newspapers will continue to feature the high quality journalism that has been expected of the Daily Echo for over a century…” Expected maybe!
    The extra 20p is, he claims, being used to “maintain the investment in exceptional journalism and continue to deliver outstanding standards in coverage.”
    What investment? The paper – once an extremely good daily newspaper – no longer has enough staff to deliver anything like outstanding standards in coverage. Ask any reader. It’s current coverage is based on easy sensationalism with car crashes, fires, robberies, attacks and punch-ups littering its pages like some throw-back tabloid from the 1980s. Granville’s favoured motto “If it bleeds it reads” is hopelessly out of touch and does not I suspect impress many readers.
    Bunging 20p on the price and cutting the retail margin for newsagents into the bargain is as the NFRN suggests not only treating both readers and newsagents with contempt but a short-cut to commercial suicide. Maybe that’s what they want. It would certainly create a reason to relaunch as a weekly and save even more money.

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