Two leading Scottish local papers have increased their cover prices, citing a “challenging market”. The Aberdeen Press & Journal (P&J) and Dundee-based The Courier, are now 10p more at newsagents.
In an open letter to readers, P&J editor-in-chief Richard Neville, said: “I realise the price rise will not be popular but we know that price is not the only factor for readers choosing The Press and Journal over other, often more expensive, newspaper brands: editorial quality, local content and a local voice matter greatly too.”
The P&J covers a vast area of Scotland, from Aberdeen in the East all the way to The Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides in the West. It prints several daily editions for different regions and distribution can be a challenge. The Highlands and the islands around the West coast are some of the most remote areas of the UK.
Neville said: “Newspapers are working in an increasingly challenging commercial market. The cost of the paper is expected to rise by 10-15% in the next year and we are particularly badly affected by rises in the price of fuel.”
The cover price rose from £1.00 on weekdays to £1.10 and from £1.10 on weekends to £1.20. The paper also plans to launch a new food and drink supplement on Saturdays and revamp its design.
Reader Alan Edwards moved to Aberdeenshire in 1979, when the P & J was still a broadsheet. He told Press Gazette he is not happy about the move.
“Price rises are never popular, but even less so when folk have had wages, benefits and pensions frozen for extended periods. A 10 per cent increase exceeds the rate of inflation,” he said.
He added: “Also, it will cross the psychological barrier of paying with a single £1 coin to having to scrabble about for additional change.”
The Courier covers a comparatively smaller patch north of the River Forth, including Dunfermline, Fife and Kirkcaldy. It raised its weekday price from 90p to £1 and at weekends it is now £1.20.
Acting editor Catriona Macinnes told readers: “By raising the cover price we will be able to keep investing in our print and digital products, ensuring that we continue to maintain our proud history of powerful, local journalism.”