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New year, new cover price for The Guardian (and a few other notes)

Change is constantly afoot these days. Whether we’re getting all misty-eyed at the promise of what comes after January or knee-deep in summer, the world waits for nobody, least of all in terms of media, PR and the press go.
Nevertheless, new ideas and new years go together rather well, as The Guardian proved yesterday by announcing a few alterations to what constitutes business as usual. Starting with the cover price, which is due to jump from £1.20 to £1.40 on weekdays, and £2.10 to £2.30 on Saturdays. It’s probably an obvious attempt to claw back some of the much publicised losses the title, and its Observer sister, have been making in recent years, reassuringly for the notably loyal readership, it’s not all a case of take-take-take on the part of the powers that be.
Starting from this weekend, the Saturday edition will come packed with a brand new supplement, namely Do Something. The simple title belies the reach of the content therein, as the public is being promised a world of information on a wealth of subjects. As MediaWeek aptly put it: “From learning to snowboard to mastering street photography or starting your own supper club, Do Something aims to help readers to make it happen with expert guidance and advice, exclusive special offers, and local information.
In many ways it certainly makes sense (and not just as a distraction from the increased price tag). Driven by online trends, with a few exceptions specialist titles aren’t doing as well as they once were (to put it mildly), hence the reason outlets such as the Observer’s Music, Sport and Women monthlies no longer exist, and as such attempting to combine a variety of articles- all brought together under the decidedly upbeat and motivational banner of ‘giving you something to do’- could well work. Or not, depending on whether you want DIY walkthrough guides on everything from angling to building the perfect scenester home.
It has now been almost three years since The Telegraph reported, with more than a hint of satisfaction, on how staff at The Guardian had been told the paper could not survive more than half a decade longer without a significant masterplan on how to reverse its crumbling fortunes. Clearly things have improved a little since then, with losses reduced and the parent Guardian Media Group reporting pre-tax profits of £22million in the year to last July. And even if they hadn’t, a new supplement is unlikely to alter any fate, any time soon. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if they score or miss when the first issue arrives the day after tomorrow, and we’ll report back our findings next week.

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