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Argument Analysis: Please help to evaluate. [#permalink]
22 Aug 2010, 23:45
Argument: 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.” Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
Analysis: Argument claims that The Mercury Newspaper should lower its price to increase circulation, thereby, increasing profits because a wider readership attracts more advertisements. Argument fails to consider key factors, on the basis of which argument can be evaluated. Argument relies on assumptions, for which there is no clear evident. Hence argument is rather weak, unconvincing and has several flaws.
Primarily, the argument readily assumes that decline in the circulation of newspaper The Mucrucry is only because of competing newspaper The Bigul’s low price. Author fails to consider other possible reasons for the decline. For example, decline of circulation could be due to major customer base of The Mucrucry changing their preference of news reading to another medium like internet, wherein they can get all the updates immediately and no need to wait until next day for fresh news. Or it could be because of recent change in newspaper format. There are various possible reasons which can result in decline of newspaper circulation. Author has simply assumed that lower price of competing newspaper is the only reason.
Secondly, the argument claims that reduction in price will increase the circulation. Author fails to mention the basis to support this line of reasoning. Reduction of price may have negative effect as well. For instance, the recent survey published by leading Business magazine concluded that cheaper does not always attract more customers. Survey asked people if they will buy “Nano”, world’s cheapest car, many people declined saying that they think “Nano” as as symbol of low status. Specifically, cheaper price may create doubt in customers mind about quality of newspaper and they may find it misaligned to their status. Author hasn’t considered this important factor.
Finally, the argument concludes that lower price will increase circulation and as a result attract more advertisements. More circulation, more advertisements this logic looks fine on face values but on closer observation, one can realize that it may not be the case. Advertisers may prefer the newspaper which has reach among wide demography or newspaper with customer base which matches the potential customer base of their business.
In summary, argument is flawed and therefore unconvincing. To strengthen the argument, the author must identify and explore relevant factors beyond cost before concluding that lowering subscription price will increase circulation and, thereby, increase advertising revenues.