In the midst of a TV listings price war, Bauer is cutting costs by replicating the TV listings in its title TV Choice, which sells at 65p, and its cut-price magazine TV Quick, which has a cover price of 30p. Accordingly, it has made several staff redundant.
Bauer's two TV magazines will now share more than half of their content, resulting in the 20 August issues of TV Choice and TV Quick duplicating 41 pages of content word-for-word.
The images and headlines in the listings sections of the two titles are also identical, although they use different colours and fonts.
Sylvia Auton, the chief executive of IPC, said: "Is this a Ratner moment? Underestimating the intelligence of one's market to this extent just might be a step too far."
Julie Lavington, Bauer's TV guide publishing director, said that the non-TV-listings parts of TV Choice and TV Quick "are totally different in editorial content".
The spat comes ahead of this week's magazine ABC results, which are expected to show that new titles in the market have met or exceeded their targets.