Complaints about broadsheet claim as Times downsizes

LONDON - With the Times set to go fully compact by Christmas members of the public have complained about an ad that said the paper was committed to both its tabloid and broadsheet editions.

Complaints about broadsheet claim as Times downsizes

Complainants objected to a national press ad for The Times that said: "We are committed to both the compact and broadsheet editions. To secure your broadsheet Times, please request it specifically with your local newsagent or our supply service."

The members of the public complained that since the introduction of the compact edition, broadsheet versions were not always supplied to their newsagents.

The Times said that it was committed to producing both editions of the paper and its commitment was shown by its efforts to publish the ad for a sustained period, introduce a dedicated helpline, develop a national database of stockists and continue to print more than 250,000 broadsheets every day.

The Advertising Standards Authority did not uphold the complaints. However, it noted that some newsagents had not received deliveries of the broadsheets when they had requested them. It also noted that The Times had demonstrated a commitment to providing both compact and broadsheet editions.

However, senior sources at The Times last week that the decision to go fully compact has now been made.

This is said to begin with the Saturday edition of the paper being available only in compact form, to be followed by the weekday edition. Some have suggested the moves may occur in the next few weeks.

Producing two editions is costing News International millions of pounds and Rupert Murdoch is said to be keen to see the loss making paper ditch its broadsheet print edition sooner rather than later.

Sister paper The Sunday Times was recently cleared of complaints to the ASA for an ad that asked "What turns businessmen on?". Members of the public complained that it was sexist, discriminatory, irresponsible and offensive.

After posing the question "What turns businessmen on?", the ad read "Domination". This prompted a rash of complaints from readers, who said it was discriminatory because it excluded businesswomen, was sexist and could encourage bullying and sexual harassment.

The ASA rejected the complaints about sexism because it did not consider the ad likely to cause widespread offence.

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