The i hikes cover price and readies new Saturday paper to safeguard against volatile ad market
The i newspaper has increased its cover price by 10p to offset a rise in printing costs, safeguard against a volatile advertising market and pump investment into a new Saturday paper.
i increases cover price to 60p
From Monday (4 September) the i will cost 60p, which editor Oliver Duff said he hopes still represents good value when compared to the cost of its rival daily newspapers (the Daily Mail has the closest cover price at 65p, while the Financial Times tops the list at £2.70).
The newspaper launched in October 2010 - under Independent ownership - costing just 20p.
Duff blaimed rising bills for newsprint and a "difficult" environment for quality journalism at a time when platforms like Facebook are undermining the paid-for nature of news as reasons for the hike.
He wrote: "Paid-for journalism in this country faces an unprecedented challenge from the avalanche of free, and often not very good, articles online.
"The types of journalism that hold the powerful to account and shine a spotlight on society are of little interest to many digital media, especially platforms like Facebook which gobble advertising revenue without any regard for the social contract that once existed between reader and publisher."
At present the i publishes the same paper Monday through Saturday, but Duff revealed a new Saturday paper is set to be launched “soon”. The new edition will cost 80p (up from 60p) and will be a “substantially stronger package” offering the kind of content and products its readers have asked for from a weekend read, Duff said, minus the supplements “that clog Britain’s recycling bins”.
His words echo those of Ashley Highfield, the chief executive of parent company Johnston Press, who told The Drum last year he was considering launching a Sunday edition of the i newspaper in a market where readers are overloaded with content.
At the time he said the weekend model, forged on long reads and investigative stories, has not adapted to changing consumer habits which mean readers have increasingly less time. This, he reasoned, means there is an appetite for a paper that doesn’t overload on content, a paper that will be read all the way through rather than “thrown away halfway”, and is reasonably priced.
There was no mention of a Sunday paper in Duff’s note to readers explaining changes at the i, but perhaps the new Saturday paper will be used as a testing ground for a full weekend proposition.
However, further changes are afoot in the i’s coverage. The paper is set to appoint its first policy editor to investigate the implications of Brexit, and is hiring new correspondents from Brussels, Moscow and India, Duff revealed.
It is also broadening its sports reporting; introducing new arts, travel, money and racing content; improving pictures, graphics and design; adding puzzles to its paper; and “investing in proof-reading”.