Daily Mail ABCs under scrutiny

The Daily Mail’s January ABC figures are under investigation following a complaint from a rival publisher.

The Daily Mail’s January ABC figures are under investigation

following a complaint from a rival publisher.



The complaint arose from a marketing campaign in the Granada TV region

between 8 and 22 January, when the cover price of the Daily Mail was

discounted to 10p for the first six days and to 15p for the following

seven days.



The 40p discount to the normal cover price of 50p on Saturday 8 January

infringed ABC rules, which require the cover price to be higher than the

trade margin. This is to give retailers an incentive to return unsold

copies. Consequently, 400,000 copies sold on that day had to be removed

from the ABC result.



The ABC is now investigating whether the copies sold at 10p between 10

and 14 January - a 25p discount to the normal weekday cover price of 35p

- also breached the same rule.



The Daily Mail has been asked to respond to the complaint but has not

yet done so. It is thought that the discounted cover price of 15p did

not cause a problem as the trade margin was lower than the cover

price.



ABC chief executive Simon Devitt refused to confirm or deny whether an

investigation was taking place.



Daily Mail managing director Guy Zitter claimed he was aware of the ABC

problem before embarking on the discounting campaign, and was prepared

to accept the consequences. He also claimed the campaign, which cost

pounds 1.3 million in lost revenue plus the cost of promotion on Granada

TV, had been justified by an almost 10 per cent uplift in sales in the

region.



Rivals contradicted this and claimed the Mail junked its campaign

prematurely because it cost too much.



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