Agencies up in arms over Times ratecard hike

Times Newspapers Limited is attempting to avoid a trading dispute with media agencies after announcing that it is to increase ad rates by 8 per cent.

The new ratecard for The Times and The Sunday Times will be introduced on 14 September, but has already upset some agencies who say that they haven't seen an equivalent rise in circulation.

"I've yet to see an 8 per cent circulation rise. We'll be having conversations and seeing how things work out," one agency press director said.

However, Mike Gordon, the commercial director at Times Newspapers, said that it has not increased rates on colour advertising for 18 months and mono advertising for three years. The increase was also a response to an increase in volume of colour advertising and the success of its compact edition, which has increased the numbers of AB readers aged 25 to 44, he said.

The Times has increased its circulation by 2.2 per cent to 650,448 since launching its compact variant last December. The compact now accounts for 65 per cent of The Times sale. The Sunday Times circulation for July fell slightly year on year to 1,304,600.

Gordon said: "The reception has been quite warm given the commercial world we live in. This is not about stand-offs and arrogance."

Rate increases average out at 8 per cent across the titles but Gordon indicated that rates for The Times sports pages and T2 section would decrease slightly.

Earlier this year The Independent had stand-offs with some media agencies over rate changes following the launch of its compact edition.