Telegraph advances 10% despite cover price rise

RAISING the cover price of Saturday's Daily Telegraph to 60p, 10p more than its direct competitors, has not adversely affected the paper's predominant market position, Joe Cooke, The Telegraph's chief executive, said yesterday.

The increase helped the Telegraph group, which also owns the Sunday Telegraph, the Spectator and a 15 per cent share in Australia's Fairfax newspapers, to a 10 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 30.3m for the nine months to 30 September.

However, a sharp increase in the tax charge meant that earnings per share fell from 16.5p to 15.7p.

Mr Cooke said that the group had 'not received a single complaint from readers' about the price increase. He added that the group had invested heavily in editorial and promotions for the Daily Telegraph, and had recently changed the editor of the Sunday paper.

He also shrugged off criticism from the newsagent trade that The Telegraph was trying to cut the amount the newsagent received for selling the paper, which had led to calls to boycott it.

'We are putting more money into the newsagent's pocket,' he said, arguing that in addition to 15p received by the newsagents for each copy sold, they received a further 4p for inserting supplements that come with the Saturday paper.

The Fairfax investment is performing ahead of expectations. Mr Cooke said that it was now contributing to The Telegraph's profits after all financing charges.

The shares rose 1p to 314p.