Newspapers Get Bigger, More Expensive: What and Who For?
The beginning of 2012 has become quite progressive for Uzbek media. First change: Newspapers of Uzbekistan that used to publish in an A4 format are now being published in an A3 one. The reason — new standards and technical requirements.
Second change: Newspapers that belong to official governmental agencies are now 30% more expensive than in 2011.
Of course, there are explanations justified enough to be acceptable. But, I am going to use this opportunity to think the way a regular reader presumably would.
I believe that the first change aims to make editions ‘more informative and interesting’ to their readers. The issue of “the bigger does not automatically mean the better” does not really matter to Uzbek media managers.
For the second change, raise in the price, I would guess that since not so many people read newspapers that are published in Uzbekistan (we will get back to this point later in this post), the owners, e.g. Parliament, Uzbek government, local municipalities, realized that the way to survive is to bring the prices up: those who buy [and not necessarily read] these newspapers will anyways be obliged to keep buying them. Among them are: schools, universities, governmental or government-affiliated establishments.
Getting back to the question whether ordinary people will ‘suffer’ from the raise in the price: according to official statistics brought by Uzmetronom, with a population of almost 30 million people, a circulation of 15-30 thousand is a huge success. There are some newspapers that are only of 1.5-2 thousand copies each.
The website compares these numbers to the 80th of the XX century — back then Uzbek SSR newspaper “Sovet Ozbekistoni” (“Soviet Uzbekistan”) had a circulation of million copies per issue. “Pravda Vostoka” (“Oriental Truth”) had 200 thousand copies.
Nowadays, “Pravda Vostoka’s” circulation is 15,100-15,500 copies. “Darakchi” tabloid, one of the most popular ‘bestsellers’, has a circulation of less than 29 thousand copies. Russian “Argumenty i Fakty” that has a circulation of almost 2,5 million copies in Russia itself, is represented by 26,520 thousand copies in Uzbekistan.
Uzmetronom called its news about the raise in the price “A Raise of Scrap Papers Price.” Well, I totally agree with it.
Photo courtesy (c) neweurasia.