Thelondonpaper shelves ad rate hike

Thelondonpaper, the News International freesheet, has scrapped plans to increase its ad rates by 33 per cent in January, amid difficult conditions in the newspaper ad market.

The title, which has achieved a circulation of 377,582, launched in September offering agencies a third off the ratecard price of £47 per single column centimetre. However, thelondonpaper warned that this discount would be removed in the new year.

After abandoning the proposed strategy, thelondonpaper denied that it is struggling to bring in advertising, and said that the decision to ditch the planned rate increase would encourage greater numbers of new clients to trial the paper.

However, one agency press director commented that the rival publisher Associated Newspapers is offering lower rates on its London Lite title, and added: "The market just won't sustain it."

News International is expected to review the situation after the first quarter of next year. Ian Clark, the general manager of thelondonpaper, said: "There will be an increase, but it won't be in January."

Separately, Times Newspapers is attempting to introduce an ad rate increase of 5 per cent, citing the strong audience profile of The Times. However, this move is likely to be resisted by agencies.

One agency director said: "We want access to The Times, but it's just not the market to be doing this."

- Comment, page 44.