Fall of Today hits small advertisers hardest

LONDON - The closure of Today newspaper will have little effect on major press advertisers but will hurt those with smaller budgets, according to senior press buyers.

Much of the pounds 23.5 million annual spend in Today is likely to be

lost to the press market, buyers believe. Tim McCloskey, deputy media

director of BMP DDB Needham, said: ‘A lot of schedules expand to fill

the number of titles available. Those funds will go back to the client

because they’ve nowhere else to go.’

However, smaller advertisers have lost an important route to inexpensive national coverage. Bill Jones, deputy chairman of MediaCom, said: "Lots of clients want to be national but don’t have much money to throw at it. For them, this is bad news."

Of Today’s 1.7 million readers, only 35 per cent did not read any other

paper. As many as 36 per cent also read the Sun, 27 per cent the Mirror,

18 per cent the Mail, 13 per cent the Express and 16 per cent the Daily

Star, according to a National Readership Survey for July to September.

Rival tabloids moved fast to exploit Today’s closure; the Sun inserted a

four-page pull-out, along with two weeks’ worth of cut-price coupons, in

the final edition of Today. A copy of the Daily Mail was delivered free

to all Today subscribers the day after the closure was announced, with

the offer of an eight-week trial at a discounted cover price.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror has also said it will pay pounds 5 to any

reader who introduces a former Today buyer to the title, and the Express

also ran a front-page ‘welcome’ to Today readers last Friday.

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