i Editor's Letter: The business of advertising


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The Independent Online


An advert wrapped around our i, I know. Not a decision taken lightly – or often. Truth is, our advertising colleagues provide a substantial proportion of our revenue, and allow us to bring you quality  journalism at what we hope is a very reasonable cover price. So every now and then, we make a commercial decision like this.

In the past two years newspaper readers (and staff) have become accustomed to ads moving from their customary slots into more adventurous positions, including a return to the front pages they used routinely to grace.

A skip through the print archives shows the proliferation of  advertisements on page 1: Fox’s Glacier Mints battling HP Sauce; the Britax Automatic competing with The Guardian’s Moon landing splash; DC Gourlay’s office equipment placed above news of the death of George VI. Gordon’s Gin beat the crowning of Elizabeth II to the top of The Daily Telegraph in 1952, while the sinking Ted Heath shared newsprint with Becas gourmet soups.

Today’s advert in i (and other newspapers) is a consequence of your desirability to marquee brands – and their willingness to pay to fund print journalism, in return for such prominence. One must balance the material and  editorial life of a newspaper – the need to operate as a sustainable business with the maxim that the reader is king. So we turn down plenty of requests that don’t comply with our house rules. But while our sister paper The Independent has joined rivals in adding 20 pence a day to its cover price, now £1.40, we continue to offer you i at 20p. Where do you stand?


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