By Harsha Man Maharjan
The very newspapers which always criticized the government for back-breaking price-hike in fuel and other goods increased its price cent percentage. On 13 December 2011, three Nepali dailies Kantipur, Annapurna Post and Nagarik declared through the publisher’s note that they had increased their price from Rs. 5 to Rs. 10. It was unprecedented in the history of news media in Nepal.
In 2003, some of them were fighting to reduce their price. At that time there was a price war between The Himalayan Times (related to Annapurna Post) and The Kathmandu Post (related to Kantipur). When The Himalayan Times (THT) started to sell in Rs. 2, The Kathmandu Post made its price Rs. 1.50.
All three newspapers argued that they had no other option than to increase the price because there was price-hike in newsprint and prices of everything in increasing in Nepal. Annapurna Post even claimed that newspapers in Nepal were the cheapest in South Asia. All of three newspapers had assured that they would try to improve their content.
I think we have to see this hike as these media’s strategy to cope with increasing onslaught of online media. Day by day the users of internet are increasing, and online are available on mobile phone. Many content of these newspapers are available online, so these newspapers want to reduce the circulation of newspapers. But many readers were surprised to see the huge increase in price. I know friend who have stopped buying these newspapers due to this hike. They think the price as cartelling of some big media houses in print media.
But it is interesting to see other dailies like Gorkhapatra, Samacharpatra, Rajdhani, Nayapatrika, etc have not increased their prices. Why is so ? An online newsportal: onlinekhabar.com has claimed that the exercise for the hike was going on from one month, and these three newspapers could not convinced other publishers. A friend from Kantipur publication informed me that they heard about this hike 45 days before.
Will the others also follow these three newspapers’ path? Only future will show.
About price war: