News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch seems to be taking on all-comers when it comes to pricing his products, online readers in the case of The Times, Sunday Times and, most recently, News of the World paywalls, and now the newspaper retail trade with the Sunday Times price increase to £2.20p.
Asda in the UK is delisting the paper because News is only offering it 1.7p of the 20p price increase, reducing its take from the usual 25 per cent to 23.5 per cent.
Other retailers, including the other supermarkets are going along with this, doubtless reasoning it’s not worth having a fight over something which brings them little money anyway but which quite a lot of their customers want.
But Murdoch is likely to lose circulation sales from the increase across the board which points up a dramatic recent change in the Murdoch reasoning. For decades he’s taken the view, with newspapers anyway, that he wants the biggest numbers he can get almost regardless of the cost.
The Times’ profit and loss account (no profit actually) has never recovered from his extended price war aimed at the Daily Telegraph. Now Rupert seems to have seen what he clearly sees as the light. Sod the numbers, just sell his products to dedicated fans who must have them.
It’s still not known how many of these are coughing up for his paid-for newspaper websites. Not that many one thinks.