Austin’s Circ Veep: Expect More Single-Copy Price Hikes

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By: Joe Strupp

The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman on Tuesday raised its single-copy price for the first time in 15 years, according to Harry Davis, circulation vice-president, who said his paper may be the first of many to raise rates as the cost of production and delivery skyrocket.

“Newsprint, ink, you name it — transportation costs, fuel,” Davis said when asked why the cost increase occurred. “All of these things, the cost of doing business in the newspaper industry.”

The American-Statesman’s price hike will increase the single-copy fee from 50 cents to 75 cents, the first such increase since 1993, when the price went from 25 cents to 50 cents.

For subscribers, a seven-day delivery charge goes from $4.70 to $4.99. Readers were told about the increase in a Sunday editor’s note.

With newsprint constantly on the rise and gasoline topping $4 per gallon in many places, Davis said it is simply the need to meet budget demands. Newspaper advertising revenue, as E&P reported first last week, has also seen its worst decline in 50 years

“I think you are going to see a lot of papers doing it in the next six months, I think a lot of papers are reviewing it,” he said about such price hikes. “I think you will see more of it this year for the same reasons I listed. Businesses go through cycles and I think this just happens to be one of those cycles.”

Davis added that the 162,000 daily circulation paper also cut back on delivery to a small circulation area some 150 miles away in College Station, Tex, where the paper had about 100 subscribers.

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