An interview with the owner of Express Newspapers, Richard Desmond, in today's Independent newspaper, suggests a price war is looming, with plans to reduce, from the start of next month, the cover price of the Daily Star, to 10p.
But that's essentially a Star versus Mirror battle, for the future. Already ongoing in Scotland is an Express versus Mail price war, both having reduced, a couple of weeks ago, their Monday-to-Friday cover prices to 20p, albeit the Scottlsh Daily Mail selling at that price only in the West of Scotland. The Express had been retailing at 35p. Outside the West of Scotland, the Scottish Daily Mail continues to sell for 45p.
And it's not just Monday-to-Friday, where the prices are going haywire. With a 50p voucher from the Saturday edition of the Scottish Daily Mail, the Scottish Mail on Sunday can be bought for £1, to match the £1 that the Scottish Sunday Express becomes with a 30p voucher from the previous day's Scottish Daily Express.
It gets even more complicated with the Saturday edition of the Daily Star of Scotland carrying a voucher that reduces the price of the same day's edition of the Scottish Daily Express by 25p, to 40p. Similarly, a voucher in the Daily Star of Scotland – Sunday provides the opportunity to purchase the Scottish Sunday Express for 40p off, ie 90p.
As things stand, the prices on the newsstands read:
Dailies: Monday to Friday
The Scotsman 80p, The Herald 80p, Daily Record 40p, Scottish Daily Mail 20p in West of Scotland (and 45p elsewhere), Scottish Daily Express 20p, Daily Star of Scotland 20p, The Scottish Sun 30p, The Times £1, The Guardian £1, The Independent £1, Daily Telegraph £1, Financial Times £2, Scottish Daily Mirror 45p, the Press and Journal 48p, The Courier, Dundee 46p, and Paisley Daily Express 42p.
Evening Times, Glasgow 45p, Evening News, Edinburgh 45p; Evening Express, Aberdeen 42p, Evening Telegraph, Dundee, 40p, Greenock Evening Telegraph 40p.
Scottish Daily Mail 80p, Scottish Daily Express 65p, Daily Star of Scotland 40p, Daily Record 65p, Scottish Sun 60p, Daily Mirror 65p, The Herald £1.30, The Scotsman £1.10, Daily Telegraph £1.80, The Times £1.50, The Independent £1.60, The Guardian £1.90, The Courier, Dundee 46p, Press and Journal 60p and and the Paisley Daily Express 42p.
Sunday Herald £1, Scotland on Sunday £1.60, Sunday Times Scotland £2, The Observer £2, Sunday Telegraph £1.90, Independent on Sunday £1.80, Scottish Mail on Sunday £1.50, Scottish Sunday Express £1.30, Scottish Sunday Mail £1.30, Sunday Post £1, Daily Star of Scotland – Sunday 90p, Daily Mirror £1, Scottish News of the World £1, and The People 95p.
In May, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, the Scottish Mail on Sunday had an average net circulation in Scotland of 96,442 compared with 98,785 in April. The Scottish Sunday Express comparative figure was 36,152, versus 37,070 in April.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Daily Mail was 112,473 (114,585) and the Scottish Daily Express 65,653 (66,367).
Coinciding also with a minor revamp of its masthead, the Scottish Daily Mail ran a series of promotional articles, saying: “Not only have we overtaken the combined circulation of The Herald and The Scotsman but we are continuing to surge ahead of them with every passing day. In fact The Mail is steadily increasing its market share – no mean feat in Scotland, which is home to the most voracious consumers of news in the world.”