Editor of the Mail on Sunday Peter Wright defended his newspapers’ use of covermounts and other promotions to boost circulation.
‘When the history of newspapers is written, it may well be that the greatest innovation of our generation is the humble polybag,’Wright said.
He said no other business has a distribution network that can deliver news, catalogues and CDs – or even chocolate bars – to millions of demographically targeted homes at a fraction of postal delivery cost.
Delivering news is no longer a sufficient selling point for newspapers, Wright argued.
‘Ownership of printing presses once admitted you to a tightly controlled club where your only competitor was state-licensed radio.
‘Today anybody can buy entry into the news delivery club simply by setting up an internet site,’Wright said.
‘I’m afraid that means that any editor who believes he can sell his newspaper entirely on news and that magazines, supplements, promotions and yes, CDs and DVDs, are simply embarrassments imposed on them by commercial management is not going to succeed.”
He added: ‘Any editor who wants his paper still to be here in 2020 needs to be constantly thinking about what he can add to his paper and what he can put into his polybag that will make his newspaper better value to the reader.”