Trinity Mirror and IPA reach a deal over circulation debacle

Trinity Mirror has reached a compromise with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising on the compensation to be paid to advertisers resulting from the fraudulent reporting of circulation at its Birmingham Post & Mail newspapers.

Trinity Mirror has reached a compromise with the Institute of

Practitioners in Advertising on the compensation to be paid to

advertisers resulting from the fraudulent reporting of circulation at

its Birmingham Post & Mail newspapers.



The newspapers are to reimburse advertisers at an average rate for the

six years of the overstatement. This rate will not be be disclosed until

a full agreement is reached.



However, Media Business has discovered that it will be less than the 17

per cent the IPA was originally seeking. There will also be a 10 per

cent rate discount this year and a rate freeze in 2001.



Trinity Mirror had already offered these last two deals but had wanted

to go to arbitration on the level of repayments. Both sides have

compromised to avoid the costs of court action. The total cost to

Trinity Mirror will be covered by the pounds 20 million it had set aside

to deal with the compensation issue.



Subject to the ironing out of a couple of small differences, the IPA

expects to be able to recommend the deal to its members this week.



Meanwhile, to re-establish its credibility and avoid a future Birmingham

debacle, the Audit Bureau of Circulations has set up a working party to

review its auditing and inspection process.



The newly formed working party will review the frequency of inspections

and the role of financial auditors such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, which

was criticised in the Birmingham case. It will particularly consider the

need for mandatory circulation audit training for accountants who work

on behalf of ABC.



The six-person working party is overseen by new ABC chairman John

Mayhead.



It includes representatives from magazine, national and regional

newspaper publishing as well as senior media agency staff. Its members

are: MediaVest’s client services director Nigel Conway, Telegraph

circulation director Cliff Ewan, Marketforce managing director David

Stam, Newcastle Chronicle & Journal sales manager Roger Winfield and IPA

research director Lynne Robinson.



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