Newspapers and Film

My natural newpaper-buying instincts have been thrown into complete confusion by the British paper’s recent spate of giving away free DVDs.

I first noticed this a couple of weeks ago when theguardian came with a free copy of The Madness of King George. That wasn’t a problem. I don’t always buy Saturday’s Guardian, but the free DVD ensured that I bought it that week.

Then last Saturday the Guardian had a free copy of East is East. but The Times trumped it with a free copy of Cabaret. Fortunately, we already have both of these films on DVD so no hard choices needed to be made. No papers were bought.

But yesterday things got more complicated. The Guardian didn’t have a free DVD. But the Times had The Last Emperor. And the Independent also joined in with a free copy of Wings of Desire. There was no alternative. I had to buy both. Which meant that I didn’t buy the Guardian this weekend. I should point out that the Telegraph had a free copy of Whistle Down The Wind, but even that wasn’t enough to overcome a lifetime’s aversion to buying the Telegraph.

Obviously the papers are doing this so I’ll buy copies of papers that I don’t usually buy. Which I’ve done. But they must also be hoping that having spend the £1.20 on what is effectively a very cheap DVD, I’ll also take a look at the paper and perhaps decide I like it more than my usual one. I haven’t done that though. The papers are still both laying unopened on the kitchen table. I’ve just removed the DVDs.

I’ll be watching closely to see what other good films I can pick up cheaply over the next few weeks. Looks like my Saturday newspaper buying will be driven purely by what films are being given away.


  1. Dead Ringers (the Radio 4 comedy show, for those who don’t leave all their wireless sets tuned to the channel permanently) did a routine this weekend about (daily, mid-market newspapers) *not* coming with a free DVD featuring an old sitcom you’ve seen hundreds of times before (I think they implied Keeping Up Appearences, Morecambe and Wise and Tommy Cooper were favourite choices).I wish I’d noticed that the Guardian a fortnight ago had The Madness Of King George, mind.Also, wasn’t there a bit of a fuss a few months ago with the record companies finally noticing that if every Saturday paper you bought had “the freshest new tunes” or “2 CDs featuring the best Sixties classics” that people might not actually buy their real product? I’d dig for a reference, but it’s bound to be deep in the Media Guardian and I can’t be bothered on a Sunday evening.

  2. I bought a copy of the Mail on Sunday to get the Rogue Trader DVD a week or two ago (and even I draw the line at the Mail!)Private Eye had a joke about it in this week’s edition, advertising DVDs with a free newspaper!

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