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January 7, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:19am

The i owner JPI Media hikes cover prices amid rising newsprint costs and falling ad revenues

By James Walker

Publisher JPI Media has upped the cover price of the i newspaper and some of its regional daily titles in response to falling advertising revenues and the rising cost of newsprint.

The i’s weekday cover price went up from 60p to 65p from the start of this year, while regional dailies the Sunderland Echo, Lancashire Post, Blackpool Gazette, Hartlepool Mail and Shields Gazette also put prices up.

The Blackpool Gazette hiked its price by 5p, going from 85p to 90p while the Lancashire post went from 80p to 83p.

The Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette both added an extra 2p to their cover prices, now costing 80p and 85p respectively, as the Hartlepool Mail went from 70p to 73p.

The titles were snapped up by JPI Media from Johnston Press in November last year as part of a pre-pack administration deal.

In a statement, JPI Media publishing director Richard Thomson said: “Increasing the price of our newspapers is never an easy decision.

“Newsprint prices continued to increase throughout 2018 by circa 12 per cent and are expected to rise further this year. Due to this the costs of doing business have grown.

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“We are committed to reinvesting in the quality of our journalism and ensure we deliver the trustworthy reporting our readers expect. As a result, we are introducing price increases to a number of our titles.”

JPI Media, which owns more than 200 titles formerly belonging to Johnston Press, declined to confirm every title with an increased cover price.

In an editor’s letter published in the Hartlepool Mail, North East editorial director Joy Yates said: “On Monday, the price of your Hartlepool Mail will increase by 3p to 73p – the first rise since 2015.

“The reason for this increase is not merely that our own costs are rising – true though that is.

“The way newspapers are funded is profoundly different from most other products you can purchase in the supermarket or newsagents.

“Historically, the lion’s share of the costs of our journalism and the production of our titles has been met by advertising.

“Without that advertising, if the reader was to pay the full price then each issue of the Hartlepool Mail would cost several pounds.

“But that subsidy we receive from advertising is decreasing in a digital age.

“So if we are to continue to deliver the exceptional, trusted local journalism which I know you value, we have to charge a little more for the paper to help offset the lower advertising revenue.”

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