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Newsflation: UK national newspaper cover prices up 13% in past year

It would now cost £144.80 to buy every copy of a Fleet Street newspaper in one week.

By Charlotte Tobitt

The UK’s national newspapers in print now cost on average 13% more than they did one year ago after continued cover price increases.

The cover price on the newsstands of a daily newspaper grew by 15% on average between January 2023 and the start of January 2024. Saturday and Sunday newspapers were each up by an average of 12%.

By comparison, official consumer price inflation in the UK was at 4.2% in the year to November 2023.

Subscription costs for paywall news websites in the UK rose by 20% over the last year, Press Gazette research has found. Publishers may be seeking more reader revenue to make up for plunging online advertising revenue.

Online ad revenue fell last year for most news publishers as they have faced falling referral traffic from Google and Facebook and challenges charging a premium for advertising as tech platforms have increasingly supported anonymous browsing.

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It would now cost £144.80 to buy a copy of every UK national newspaper on each day for one week, compared to £129.85 one year ago.

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(Press Gazette’s comparison is for the main UK-wide national newspapers, excluding – for instance – the Scotland-based Sunday Mail and Daily Record).

In January 2014, before the closure of the print version of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, the cost would have been £83.85, meaning a jump in price of 73% in a decade (including the extra cost of buying the now defunct Independent titles). This compares to a 32% in retail prices in the UK over that period (according to the Bank of England).

Several publishers most recently put up their prices to help mitigate continually rising production costs at the start of the New Year. DMGT’s Mail and i titles saw an increase from 30 December, Reach implemented price rises from 1 January and Guardian News and Media put up all its prices by 20p from 6 January.

The price increases also mitigate against falling circulation volumes as fewer copies are shifted on the newsstands. The newspapers that still publicly report their circulation with ABC saw an average decline of 69% between November 2013 and November 2023 (the latest figures available). The biggest circulation decline in that decade is the Sunday People, down 84%, with the smallest at the Financial Times, down 54%.

The biggest price rise in the past year in percentage terms was The Sun, up 25% from 80p to £1, followed by The Guardian and The Sunday Telegraph, both up 20% from £2.50 to £3.

In cash terms the biggest price increases were of 50p: at the Saturday edition of The Times, The Sunday Times, all editions of The Guardian and The Observer, and the Saturday and Sunday editions of The Telegraph.

The smallest percentage increase was at The Mail on Sunday, up 5% from £2 to £2.10, followed by The Daily Telegraph (from £2.80 to £3) and the i Weekend (from £1.50 to £1.60) both up 7%.

Other than the i Weekend, the smallest 10p rise also took place at the i’s weekday edition, all editions of the Mail, and the weekday Daily Star.

The most expensive newspapers have not changed since last year: the FT Weekend leads the way on £5.10 (up 6% from £4.80) followed by Saturday editions of The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph plus The Observer and The Sunday Times, all up 14% from £3.50 to £4.

The weekday editions of The Daily Star and the i are now the cheapest Fleet Street newspapers, at 90p each up 13% from 80p last year. The Sun saw a bigger growth from 80p to £1, putting it joint with the Daily Mail, which increased from 90p last year.

The FT Weekend remains the only UK newspaper to cost more than the average pint of draught lager (£4.69 in November). Every newspaper costs more than a pint of milk, according to average ONS price data.

On a weekday, it would cost £18.90 to buy every Fleet Street daily – The TimesDaily TelegraphGuardianthe iFinancial TimesDaily Mail, Daily Express, Daily MirrorThe Sun and the Daily Star – from a newsagent, up 11% from £17 a year earlier. In 2014 the dailies (excluding The Independent which closed in 2016) together cost £9.20, meaning a rise in the past decade of 105%.

It would cost £26.60 to buy every Saturday edition of the national newspapers - The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, FT Weekend, i Weekend, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, The Sun and the Daily Star - each week, up 12% from £23.75 last year. A decade ago the total price would be £13.05 (excluding The Independent), meaning the Saturdays have also doubled in price in ten years as a group.

It would cost £23.70 to buy every Sunday newspaper - The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People, The Sun on Sunday and the Daily Star Sunday - up 12% from £21.10 last year and up 70% in a decade from £14 (excluding The Independent on Sunday).

The table below shows all the data we used to show the cover prices between 2013 and 2024:

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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