News International has taken a dramatic step towards greater
trading transparency as it approaches a final resolution of its dispute
over circulation figures with the Telegraph Group and the Audit Bureau
NI is prepared to make available to advertisers its daily circulation
data as long as rival titles do the same, David Walsh, the deputy ad
director of Times Newspapers, told a conference hosted by the
communications specialist, AMCO, last week.
At the conference for media owners and advertisers, Walsh said: ’News
International will face the day-of-week circulation issue. We are
committed to greater transparency, but let’s not get into information
However, he warned that should newspapers publish day-of-week sales,
there would be the issue of how special days were charged.
Len Sanderson, the deputy managing director and advertising director of
the Telegraph, said his group had published daily circulation figures
until 18 months ago, but no-one was interested. He added: ’I don’t think
News International intends to publish day-of-week sales.’
The legal dispute between the Telegraph, NI and the ABC on how lesser
and full- rate sales are categorised in ABC circulation figures is
drawing to a close, with the High Court case being adjourned until
Monday when a settlement is likely to be made. An agreement has been
reached in principle by all parties, following the Telegraph’s
suggestion to include a fourth category for subscriptions (Campaign,
last week). The new category will be included in the June circulation
figures which will be released on Friday.
On 6 August, the ABC Council will meet with Newspaper Publishers
Association members and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising to
begin a comprehensive review of ABC Audit rules.
Media buyers welcomed an end to the dispute which would allow the ABC to
concentrate on other issues and were keen to see daily circulation
figures. Mike Wood, the head of J. Walter Thompson’s media arm, said:
’There is a demand from media buyers for day-to-day figures. ABC
circulation can vary from one day to the next.’
Media Forum, page 12.