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JP issues ‘quality news’ pledge after price rise at six dailies

Johnston Press has increased the cover price on at least six of its regional dailies – saying the move will allow it to invest in “quality, trusted news.”

The regional publisher has increased the price of both Blackpool daily The Gazette and Yorkshire Evening Post by five pence, while three pence rises have been introduced at Portsmouth daily The News, the Sunderland Echo and Sheffield daily The Star.

An increase of two pence has been made at the Edinburgh Evening News.

A company spokesman said the move will help pay for up to 60 new staff it is recruiting, although this figure also appeared to include journalists being recruited via the BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporter scheme.


JP price rise

A JP spokesman said: “We think very carefully before making any price change. It’s no secret that the cost of newsprint has gone up significantly this year, and price adjustments also help us to continue investing in quality, trusted news.

“This includes recruiting over 60 new employees, partly from the excellent BBC local democracy reporter scheme, but also 21 new digital editorial roles and 10 specialist digital sales staff, as well as an editorial apprenticeship scheme.”

The company has so far declined to say whether prices increases are being brought in at selected titles, or whether it is a group-wide policy.

The changes to the six titles mentioned are as follows:

  • Edinburgh Evening News, 78p to 80p
  • Sunderland Echo, 75p to 78p
  • The Gazette, Blackpool, 80p to 85p
  • The News, Portsmouth, 80p to 83p
  • The Star, Sheffield, 75p to 78p
  • Yorkshire Evening Post, 77p to 82p

In a trading update last week, JP revealed that overall circulation revenues rose 2pc during 2017, largely on the back of a strong performance by national daily the i.


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  • February 5, 2018 at 9:14 am

    “We think very carefully before making any price change” says JP. Really? These are regular price increases which further speed up sales decline. “We are trying to squeeze the maximum amount from newspapers until we have to close them down” would be a more appropriate statement. JP is full of PR speech which is maybe justified in relation to the I but separate the performance of the I and regional titles and it’s a desperate situation.

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  • February 5, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Just look at those prices, you could buy two national papers and have some change. Then read all the local content online as JP have a ‘digital first’ policy.
    I wonder how these papers are doing saleswise, I guess we will find out the latest figures in the next few weeks.

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  • February 5, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Interesting JP policy here on different daily titles. Why is Gazette, Blackpool deemed to cost 7p more than other daily titles? Hardly a rich demographic. Sacrificed to absorb impact on other titles like YP and Scotsman? Sure we’ll see other titles have price rises in coming months too – few conspicuous by their absence here

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  • February 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Any price rise, particularly ones of this level of increase are usually the last desperate throws of the dice when all else has failed.
    Not only does this emphasise how poor the content has become if the increase is allegedly aimed at allowing better quality content to be produced( I’ll bet the journalists still there appreciate that kick in the what’s it’s) but price rises further alienates an already volatile market forcing current buyers to reconsider their purchase.
    Be good if they came out and admitted bad management and weak short sighted policies were the reason and not blame it on other,frankly laughable excuses

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  • February 5, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    To be fair, it’s not just JP. Last month Archant very quietly put up the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News up by 5p to 95p and 80p respectively – just 17 months after previous 5p increases.

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  • February 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Shhhhh @ onetimesub
    We weren’t supposed to tell anyone about this and no one was supposed to notice the latest price rise, probably because they’d run out of excuses for charging more for less.
    Cover price rises really do emphasise the lack interest in the titles and the lack of all other revenue generating/ cost saving options; pay cuts for directors,less bonus for middle managers, yet can anyone honestly say a price rise has ever solved the problem of declining sales snd freefakking revenues?

    All it does is lose more readers who no longer see value in the paper and further distances themselves from the casual buyer, factors which will turn potential advertisers ( are there any?) off once they realise just how few copies are being sold these days, that’s ‘actual paper sales’,not the inflated figures including web viewers and email recipients the reps trot out in order to make the overall reader numbers appear less horrendous when trying to attract custom.

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  • February 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Apologies for the typo , good subs needed

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  • February 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    we all know the cycle of newspaper life now.
    Price increase. sales decline. Ad revenue down because sales decline. Price Increase to cover fall in revenue. Sales decline…bla bla bla repeat until death of paper.

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  • February 5, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    If something’s percieved to be of little or no value at the current price ,increasing the price you charge for it won’t alter the perception in fact it is more likely to drive those loyal buyers away who will feel taken advantage off despite hollow assurances of improved quality.

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  • February 5, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Quality news eh?
    All (remaining) journalists should applaud that, and maybe now all newspapers of quality have a chance to hold their head up high in the era of ‘fake news’ and ‘Facebook rumours’ news.
    What a shame, tragedy even, that JP has been so assiduous in getting rid of quality journalists over the past few years, stripping out a whole level of experience and knowledge, offering readers bland, centralised content instead. Or even that barrel scraping offer of ‘user generated content’. Lets us not forget that JP were very pleased to announce that at least one of their weekly papers in Yorkshire was to be of entirely UGC. Quality news indeed.
    To be fair to all newspaper publishers, the cost of production/printing probably has much the same cost base, whether its the Sun or the Sheffield Star, and increases in costs. But regionals no longer have any benefit from economies of scale that must have helped in the days of 50 -100k sales. One thing you can be sure of is the cover price increases have nothing to do with rising wages going into miniscule newsroom staffing. Do be sure also to look at Ashley Highfield’s pay over the past years. Far more than a few 2ps.

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  • February 5, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Paperboy…. You’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s basically mis-management! Trying to get ahead of the rest and save bucket loads of money. To them digital means no print costs, no transport costs and a skeleton workforce. Except they Really can’t monetise it yet they keep trying and failing. They are sacrificing once good papers and talented staff in persist of the Holy grail. They are too proud and stubborn to back down and papers are dying. That’s what I call mis-management. In the big fight of print v digital they have thrown in the print towel in the first minute of the match. Fools!!!

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  • February 5, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Sunderland Echo 78p, was overpriced at 50p a few years back but at least the title had a circulation to be proud of & loyal readers unlike today.

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  • February 6, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Five years’ time they won’t exist at all… paid-for newspapers are on the slippery slope to extinction, just look at the circulation figures, some are losing 20pc of their sales every year. By 2025 a once great industry will be gone forever.

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  • February 7, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Charge the reader more and give them less. See sales fall, get rid of staff, put less in the papers and hike the price once again to try and cover lost revenues from sales. Repeat until closure.
    This is madness in itself, but couple it with the complete inability of these newspaper groups to monetise the internet to a decent level – the basket into which all eggs have been thrown – and it looks like rank stupidity.

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