Sun columnist sparks Guardian future debate

One of the Sun‘s erudite columnists has sparked a debate over the life expectancy of the Guardian, claiming that the newspaper of the year award winner will not survive the next ten years.

Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of the tabloid, congratulated the Guardian on its award victory, before pointing out that on Monday its circulation had fallen “to an all-time low of 200,000”. He added: “Over the next month, my bet is that it will plunge even further and within a decade will have ceased publication entirely as its losses – around £40 million a year – become unsustainable.”

MacKenzie’s glee in seeing a competitor such as the Guardian face sinking circulations is no surprise, seeing as he has labelled it the “world’s worst newspaper” in the past, but a response from SEO consultant Malcolm Coles adds a less-biased cause for doubt over the future stability of the paper.

In his response, Coles praises the Guardian‘s investment in its digital future, but a simple graph points out that the paper isn’t letting him give him the same kind of money he did when he purchased a physical copy of the paper every weekday. In fact, now that Coles has gone all digital, he has gone from paying £230 a year for the paper, to just £4.

He says: “The collapse in what I pay is because I read most of the news for the next day’s newspaper on the Guardian website on my iPad the evening before. And I read anything new on my iPhone on the way to and from work. The newspaper has nothing in that I need.”

Coles admits he would “happily pay more than £4 a year for its iPhone app”. The first way the paper can attempt to recoup some of the lost money made by readers like Coles digital switch is to examine its price point. It might not save the paper, but Coles makes a good point that, although the Guardian‘s digital innovation has been successful, it is at the cost of low (and more lucrative) physical sales.

(Sources: journalism.co.uk, Malcolm Coles)

Photo taken by Flickr user psd, licensed under Creative Commons.

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