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The following appeared in an announcement issued by the publisher of The Mercury, a weekly newspaper.
“Since a competing lower-priced newspaper, The Bugle, was started five years ago, The Mercury’s circulation has declined by 10,000 readers. The best way to get more people to read The Mercury is to reduce its price below that of The Bugle, at least until circulation increases to former levels. The increased circulation of The Mercury will attract more businesses to buy advertising space in the paper.”
In the announcement the publisher attributes the decline in the sales of The mercury to the advent of a lower priced competitor The Bugle. The argument has a couple of faulty assumptions and conclusions.
Firstly this assumption is not very convincing because Newspapers are a cheap medium of news distribution and presence of lower priced competitors seldom has an adverse effect on the sales of a particular brand.
There might be other aspects to this argument which have not been presented like the quality and the content of the presentation.The bugle might be scoring over The mercury by the virtue of it being a more attractive material.
For example in Kolkata The Statesman which had been once the premier news paper brand is today languishing with a handful of customers.It failed to evolve and adapt in the face of the competition and despite being one of the cheapest news papers around has vanished into oblivion.
However in order to proceed further we may assume that the price factor might be the most and important factor in determining the market share.In that case the solution that has been presented seems to be of a stop-gap kind of arrangement.
The newspaper intends to drop its price below that of the bugle until the market share is wrested back.
The assumption that an increased circulation will attract more advertisements is not entirely flawed but not concrete either because the advertisements rates in the mercury might not be attractive enough.Therefore without analysing this factor it is inappropriate to make assumptions.
Secondly the abstract fails to propose a long term solution for the problem and instead ends up proposing a solution on implementation of which the The newspaper might end up losing more than gaining.
In conclusion therefore the statement could modify its line of reasoning and a bit more introspective data could be used to propose a solution.