Rupert Murdoch must think highly of the changes he's made to The Wall Street Journal: He expects readers to pay one-third more for it.
Starting on July 28, the Journal will raise its cover price from $1.50 to $2.00, putting it on a par with the Financial Times. Interestingly, the hike comes as the paper's editors are being urged to think more about how they can use the front page to boost newsstand sales -- not something that has traditionally been a major focus.
An industry source says distributors are unhappy about the way the Journal has handled the increase, giving them just two weeks of advance notice and offering them only 5 cents per copy of additional revenue. "Doing it like this creates a lot of ill will," says the source. (A Journal spokesman confirmed the plans for the increase but had no comment on the other details.)
It's also bound to cost the Journal some readers -- unless, of course, that new, zippier front page really is that much more appealing to newsstand browsers. After the paper increased its cover price from $1 to $1.50 last year, average single copy sales fell by about 8 percent.
Murdoch's other New York newspaper, the Post, doubled its cover price in May, to 50 cents. No word yet on how much circulation the Post has lost as a result of that change, but it can't have been all that beneficial to the bottom line, seeing as the paper's now in talks with its arch-rival, the Daily News, about combining some operations to save cash.