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
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
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
Rivals contradicted this and claimed the Mail junked its campaign
prematurely because it cost too much.