The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is raising newsstand prices 50 cents to $2 per weekday issue, despite the fact that weekday print circulation has dropped 54% over the last decade.rThe move continues a drive by newspapers to raise reader revenues in the face of quickening declines in advertising sales. Ad revenues at U.S. newspapers fell 8% last year, the largest decline since 2009. The price increase is also an effort to wring more dollars out of the shrinking base of older readers who can’t get through the day without a print newspaper. Those readers have money, but advertisers don’t want to reach them.
The story in the rival Tribune-Review quotes Poynter Institute analyst Rick Edmonds saying that raising prices puts pressure on newspapers to improve quality, but there is little evidence that quality and price are correlated. The Post-Gazette is more likely looking to whittle down its print reader base to the hard-core few who will pay a price at which print is profitable.