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
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.