Managers at The Standard newspaper are worried that circulation of the Kenya's second selling tabloid-size daily publication will drop drastically following the increase in the cover price.
Daily Nation, Kenya's top-selling newspaper, which is also raising the cost of its cover price, will likely to reap the benefits of the fallout from the joint decision by the Daily Nation and The Standard to increase by five shillings the cost of newspaper.
Now, in retrospect, the managers The Standard are lost on how to make sure that they maintain the circulation of the newspaper that I, myself, rarely read. The decision by The Nation and The Standard to raise the cost of cover price from today - 1 December - was reached in the first week of November, following weeks of discussion with the commercial directors and managers.
And The Daily Nation has been seeking to tell its readers, including those who read The Standard that Daily Nation is read by at least 70 per cent of all newspaper readers in the country; with numbers to back that up.
Not that five shillings is quite a huge amount, really, compared with Uganda where the New Vision and Daily Monitor sell for an average of one dollar (80 shillings) per copy and similar price in Tanzania. But, Kenyan print media market is a bit different. This is a market where people watch as much TV and listen to radio, read news on the internet, and buy the Sunday newspaper to catch up with what they may have missed in the week.
There are many people who buy both The Standard and Daily Nation daily, but it is likely that until they psychologically adjust to the price rise, they may have to stop buying one newspaper for the time being. That newspaper will likely be The Standard - because after all The Nation has most adverts, better news writing style, in spite of the political bias, and more trusted name.
Probably, some people will be buying The Daily Nation and The Star newspapers, in place of The Standard. Maybe even with The People that has a better look from today following re-launch.
No wonder then on 29 November when The Standard was announcing that there had been a decision to raise cover price of its title with a similar step at the Daily Nation, it went ahead to seek to beseech the readers to continue buying the newspaper.
They did not have to do that. They would have just said: ''We and The Daily Nation are raising by five shillings the cover price because of high newsprint costs.'' In contrast, when the Daily Nation was announcing on 30 December that it was raising its cover price by five shillings, it did so in four paras. You see the panic?