News Ltd: why would we go free?

News Ltd has written to Victorian newsagents to say it has no plans to take its metro papers free.  

It follows Mumbrella’s suggestion that the option might be under consideration.

The letter, to Peter Cowley, CEO of a Victorian newsagency association, says:

Your members can safely disregard the suggestion that metropolitan daily newspapers like the Herald Sun might one day be given away free of charge.

It’s idle speculation and completely off-the-mark.

You’ll note that News Limited Director of Corporate Affairs, Greg Baxter has already issued a flat denial, which was included in the online article.

But if further reassurance is required, here’s a quick reality check.

At a cover price of $1.10, the Herald Sun sells more than 500,00 copies Monday to Friday, week in, week out. And more than 600,000 copies every Sunday at $1.80.

That’s an awful lot of sales revenue to forgo.

But if you believe the online expert, dropping the price to zero would increase our readership.

Problem is, according to Roy Morgan Research more than 1 in 4 adult Victorians already read the Herald Sun, giving us one of the highest per capita readership levels in the world.

Dropping the price to zero might grow our readership enormously, but then again it might not. A newspaper’s cover price is just one of many factors influencing consumer behaviour.

The Herald Sun’s connection with the Victorian community is undoubtedly our most powerful tool for attracting readers and advertisers

It’s a connection that has never been more apparent than during the recent Victorian Bushfires.

Delivering that connection through quality journalism is one of the fundamentals of our business. It’s also very expensive.

Why would we put it all at risk for so little potential gain?

Warm regards,

Andrew Hockley
General Manager, Sales & Marketing
Herald & Weekly Times Pty Ltd

(Source: Australian Newsagency Blog)


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