10:03 am Jun. 18, 2012
This morning at the intersection of 40th Street and 8th Avenue, a woman was shouting at the top of her lungs, dressed in a blue smock, at the onrush of commuters coming out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
"Check it out! Daily News is 75 cents!" she was hollering, as a few feet behind her and to the left, against a curb, a man in the same smock stood before a Foxy lettuce box on which were stacked copies of the Spanish-language daily tabloids, the New York Post and the News. The News this morning arrived with a special blue poster for them to use to help them move papers: "GREAT VALUE FOR 75¢."
This morning is the first weekday the Post is selling its papers for a dollar, and it's a moment in the tabloid war.
Back in 2000, the News announced plans for a free afternoon edition of the paper, targeting mostly commuters at the big transportation hubs like Port Authority, Penn Station and Grand Central Station as well as major NJ Transit hubs like the World Trade Center.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. responded by simply lowering the price of its daily paper from 50 cents, the same price as the News, to 25 cents.
"The price drop highlighted Mr. Murdoch’s willingness to have The Post lose a lot of money, which it does, as long as it is widely read," Times media reporter Richard Perez-Peña noted in 2007. "The 25-cent price contributed to a steep increase in sales, from fewer than 500,000 copies daily in 2000, to more than 700,000 today—even as most newspapers lost customers."
But that year, the Post decided to see what it could do for newsstand sales by upping themselves to 50 cents, the same price as the News. The maneuver lasted for 10 days before the paper brought the price back down to 25 cents.
A year ago, they bumped up to 75 cents, and the News quickly followed suit. Now, the Post is up to a dollar, and it looks like the News has decided to consolidate the potential advantage in circulation, rather than move up themselves and get more money out of possibly fewer paying customers.
Next up: Either the Post abandons its new high price, or the News gives up and increases its price, too.