Buyers sceptical as News International plans ratecard rise

News International will hike the Times and Sunday Times’s ratecards by 10 and 5 per cent respectively from next month, but media buyers are united in the belief that the increases are unattainable.

News International will hike the Times and Sunday Times’s ratecards

by 10 and 5 per cent respectively from next month, but media buyers are

united in the belief that the increases are unattainable.



The newspapers are understood to be asking advertisers for more money

for two main reasons: first, to keep in line with circulation gains made

over the past three years, and second, to cushion against market

contraction in 1998.



Sources have predicted that many national advertisers may be forced to

cut their budgets by up to 15 per cent next year and that media owners

are more likely to be able to get more money out of existing advertisers

than to try to pull in new ones.



One press buying director said: ’The market can’t sustain increases of

this level. It will make negotiations more difficult and more

protracted.



I reckon they’ll get no more than 2 per cent on the Sunday and 3 per

cent on the weekdays.’



Others took it in their stride. Tim McCloskey, the deputy managing

director of BMP Optimum, said: ’Ultimately, ratecard increases are

always subject to negotiation. Like any commercial decision, the success

will be subject to the realities of the market.’



Richard Britton, the media director of CIA Medianetwork, said: ’The

Times newspapers have had a lot of ratecard increases - this is the

third in as many years. They are trying to catch up on the circulation

gains they made some time ago but those gains have slowed down.’



Senior sales managers at both newspapers were unavailable for comment as

Campaign went to press.



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