Home News Local news V.I. Daily News to Cost $1 Starting Monday

V.I. Daily News to Cost $1 Starting Monday


Oct. 28, 2005 – Commuters who pick up the Virgin Islands Daily News on their way to work may want to throw some extra change in the car. The price of the newspaper will rise to $1 – a 33 percent increase – on Monday. The island's only daily printed newspaper is currently 75-cents.
Daily News CEO Lowe Davis and circulation department managers at the Daily News did not return calls Wednesday, but the newspaper ran advertisements in Wednesday and Thursday's editions.
The advertisement said "The skyrocketing increase in gasoline and related costs forces The Virgin Islands Daily News to raise the price of the newspaper to $1, beginning Monday, Oct. 31, 2005. This is the first increase in almost 5 years."
Gas prices peaked in September and October in St Thomas, and are down slightly now to around $3.05 per gallon. The cost of gasoline prompted a review of taxi rates in the Virgin Islands and ultimately resulted in increased prices. (See Taxi Prices Up Effective Immediately.)
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as continuing security concerns in the Middle East, have driven oil prices up across the world. As of Wednesday, the price for a barrel of oil was still above $60.
The Daily News advertisement also said the Daily News will pass on the benefits of the price increase to street-side vendors, delivery contractors, stores and other workers." The notice does not detail those benefits, nor does it explain the "related costs" that have caused the increased price.
Area stores that sell the Daily News were unsure if their sales of the newspaper would change.
"I don't know if a lot of people know about it yet," said Ahed Daas, manager of Food Center at Frydenhoj. "We probably won't know the effect until next week. We have to give it some time to see what happens."
Another merchant, who did not wish to be named, said because the Daily News is the only printed daily newspaper on the island, sales probably would not decrease in the long run.
Other newspapers in the United States have cited the rising cost of paper, an unstable advertising market and declining readership as reasons to cut costs or raise prices.
A daily newspaper's spending on paper each year can be 15 to 20 percent of the newspaper's profits, according to statistics from the Newsprint Producers Association, and those costs have prompted changes at some newspapers. Earlier this month The Wall Street Journal announced plans to shrink the width of its U.S. editions starting in January 2007.
The price of newsprint has increased substantially in the past three years, and costs more than $625 per ton – the highest price ever – according to an article in the online magazine Slate.
But the same article also says that when the price of newsprint is adjusted for inflation, the price is not as high as it was in the late-1980s.
"Far from being victims of high newsprint costs, newspapers have been coasting on cheap newsprint for much of the past two decades," wrote Jack Shafer in the Slate magazine article "Paper-Thin Excuses."
Other newspapers have also cited declining circulation and a shaky advertising market for weak profits. The Daily News circulation is 15,000, according to the Web site of parent company Innovative Communication Corporation. When the news company Gannett bought the Virgin Islands Daily News in 1979, the paper's circulation was about 6,000. When Gannett sold the newspaper in 1997 to Jeffrey J. Prosser of ICC, the circulation was close to the current circulation of 15,000, according to reports on the sale. From these numbers, it appears that circulation at the Daily News has remained flat in the past several years.
The advertising market in the United States remains sluggish, though, according to the magazine Editor & Publisher. Information was not available about the Virgin Islands advertising market specifically.

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