By: E&P Staff
Beginning today, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times will cost some readers twice as much.
The newsstand price of its editions has been raised from 25 to 50 cents in some areas, while increasing from 35 to 50 cents in others. The price of seven-day home delivery of the Times was also increased to $4 per week. Previously, the paper’s seven-day home delivery price was $3.61.
“Now is our lowest sales period of the year,” Craig Holley, the Times’ single-copy manager, told E&P. “So if you’re going to [raise prices], now’s the time to do it.” Holley explained that the first and fourth quarter (fall and winter) circulation numbers of the paper are considerably higher than the third quarter (summer).
The most recent circulation numbers, released at the end of April, saw the Times have an average daily circulation of 316,000, a 2.1% decline from last year’s April numbers. By contrast, the Times’ circulation for the six months previous, released in November of 2007, was only 288,000. Despite the declining numbers, the Times is still the largest paper in Florida and 20th largest daily in the country.
A statement posted on The Feed, the blog of Times media critic Eric Deggans, gave additional reasons for the increased price, including “increased newsprint prices, dropping advertising revenue and rising fuel costs.”
By contrast, the Times’ competitor, the Tampa Tribune, has kept prices at 25 cents at the newsstand and $2.94 for a seven-day home delivery subscription. The Sunday edition of the Times will stay at 50 cents in Hillsborough County and parts of Pasco County. On the other hand, in areas such as Citrus County and the western part of Pasco County, the price of the Sunday edition will increase from 50 cents to $1.
“The St. Petersburg Times newsstand price has often been considered low for a paper of its size and quality,” wrote Deggans on The Feed blog. “According to a Washington Post story citing figures from the Newspaper Association of America … 81 percent of daily newspapers charged 50 cents a copy in 2005 … This change is part of the newspaper’s ongoing drive to increase revenue while weathering the worst newspaper recession in 30 years.”