Murdoch wields broadsword in broadsheet battle: NEWSPAPER PRICE WAR: 'Times' surrenders further pounds 15m pursuing target of one million copies a day and profit in five years

RUPERT MURDOCH threw the newspaper industry into fresh turmoil last night by decreeing, after a discussion with Peter Stothard, editor of the Times, that weekday copies of the newspaper would cost 20p from this morning, the same price as his mass market Sun.

By slicing a further 10p off the paper's price (the Saturday paper comes down to 30p) what was once marketed as the top people's paper is surrendering an estimated further pounds 15m in lost revenue as it continues a long-term strategy of aiming to sell one million copies a day and eventual profit in perhaps five years time - the precise position of its arch-rival, the Daily Telegraph.

Peter Stothard said last night the move did not undermine the Times, by appearing to place it on a par with the Sun. 'The response from our readers so far is that they appreciated the paper at 30p. They thought a quality paper should be 30p.' He pointed to the strengths of the paper's columnists.

Stephen Grabiner, newly appointed managing director of the Daily Telegraph said: 'Is this sufficiently low to reflect the value of the Times? We think 30p is the right price for us, and we don't intend to change our position. We debated long and hard about whether to go to 35p, 30p or 25p. We knew that Rupert Murdoch would respond.'

Both groups are due to transfer their battle to the TV screens, launching large advertising campaigns, but the Daily Telegraph is partly funding this pounds 1m cost by cutting out the expensive offers of cut price holidays and cassette tapes it has been using to attract readers. It is also expected to examine budgets for cuts next year.

Max Hastings, editor of the Daily Telegraph, said he was in no doubt that cutting its price had been the right move. 'Murdoch has said he sees three national newspapers surviving, the Times, Daily Mail and the Sun. He is determined to take whatever action he can. We will not lie down in his path.' The Daily Telegraph is also preparing to add more right-wing political bite to its centre pages, through the appointment of a new deputy editor, Simon Heffer.

The Guardian, priced 45p, was silent on any future plans, as were the Daily Mail and Daily Express (both 32p), although Lord Rothermere, chairman of Associated Newspapers - which owns the extremely buoyant Daily Mail - is known to be actively considering how to respond.

Robert Thompson, deputy circulation manager at News International, said yesterday had seen a fair measure of dual newspaper purchasing by consumers as they sampled the cut-price paper: the Independent, at 20p for a day, was a beneficiary. The paper's own calculations showed a 68,000 rise in sales, to 331,000, while the Telegraph estimated its 30p offer had put on 5 per cent in extra sales. Sales of the Guardian and the Times were estimated to have fallen by about 65,000.

The moves have sent ripples throughout the industry, with large regional groups fearfully eyeing their prospects and prices. Magnus Linklater, editor of the Scotsman, published in Edinburgh and priced at 42p, said: 'The Telegraph is very much a major rival. We just can't stay out of it. At the moment we are holding our price.'

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Humanities and Economics Teacher - January 2015 - Malaysia

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

SEN Teaching Assistant needed for long term assignment

£45 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experienc...

Primary Teachers Required in King's Lynn

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in King's Ly...

Primary Teachers needed in Ely

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain