Why would you pay 7000 for daily paper subscription? (Guest Blog)

This is a guest post. The writer wants to start blogging on economic matters and wanted this post published to know if readers would be interested in similar posts. Please help the writer with your feedback.

The writer wants to remain anonymous for this post.

The annual subscription of Republica Daily (with IHT) in Nepal costs NRs 7000. With the exchange rate of USD 1 = NRs 82, that amounts to USD 85.4, almost 16% of the country’s GDP per capita (7% when adjusted by purchasing power parity) and 14% of the per capita income. Few days ago, some Nepali daily papers jointly hiked their price by 100% to about USD 45, roughly 9% of the country’s GDP per capita (4% when adjusted by purchasing power parity) and 8% of the per capita income.

The only question I have is how fair that price is? In a country where many can’t buy basics of survival with their little money, isn’t the price of this annual subscription totally outrageous? This almost equivalents the price of luxury item given the fact that University level education at many Government owned Universities comes comfortably at that price. However, the quality of both University education and the news on the paper is arguable.

In a totally different context I remember this concept of political economy of “Guns versus Butter”- money spent by Government on military versus money spent on non-military matters/goods. One comes at the expense of other. I couldn’t find this exact data for Nepal. Maybe, I need to try harder and push some buttons on my own calculator. Lets save that for some other time. What we all agree is that this balance is increasingly tilted towards the former. The balance is disturbed more in these days when there are a lot of post-war adjustments going on. Some money goes on damage repair and some on damage prevention. We all know by now, war costs whooping lots and it keeps on draining the national budget for years. That is how this spending is justified. But it is high time now there be some substantial spending on “butter”, or else this “damage repair” loop will bind us forever.

Lesson: learning to prioritize is vital.

P.S. How many of you already subscribed to Republica Daily?


5 thoughts on “Why would you pay 7000 for daily paper subscription? (Guest Blog)

  1. Nice post. And very interesting observation about the cost of university education and a paper subscription. I would love to see a longer analysis on this. Also perhaps something on if this price hike really makes any business sense. Because fact is, a copy of newspaper costs at least Rs 45 (last i checked) and even if you raise the price by 200%, you are hardly anywhere near a profit. Ads are the real source of revenue for newspapers. It would be great to see someone getting down to the maths of it, the production cost versus the increase in revenue brought by the hike.

  2. Don’t know about the complex theories of economics but the theory of my common sense simply says, the price doubled the subscription will come down thus lowering the total revenue. The publication may have some increment in profit but the readership is surely going down, the road-side shopkeepe, I reguraly visit, with 3 Nepali language newspaper subscription is now down with just one.

    • this price hike shows that in Nepal, information is still a luxury good and not (yet) designed for mas s consumption. it is a business and not a service, so the profit motive takes center stage.

      however, it is important to accept that journalism is not free. reporters have to be paid, bureaus have to be staffed-yes, new media (blogs etc) can fill in to certain extent but the traditional journalism is still needed.

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