Advertiser Outrage Forces Tabloid Times to Drop Charges

03 December 2003

London-based newspaper The Times, ultimately owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, has been in hot water following its recent decision to emulate competing broadsheet The Independent by simultaneously publishing a (content-identical) tabloid version.

But The Times, whose bottom line has a stylish black tinge, decided that aping its rival would not extend to paying the extra production costs incurred by two different sizes of ad artwork. Instead, advertisers must foot the bill. At which advertisers and agencies took to the streets [WAMN: 01-Dec-03].

At The Independent, however, where the nethermost row is decidedly red, the extra costs are covered by the newspaper, which believes the popular move to tabloid format will ultimately pay off -- both with readers and advertisers.

And so it finally came to pass on Tuesday that even The Times' accountants came to terms with reality: the guys who pay a substantial part of their substantial salaries were hopping mad and might just switch their advertising pounds to the shop next door.

"We have been conscious of customer dissatisfaction with gatekeeper charges for a long time and this has been reinforced by the recent consultation study produced by the Newspaper Marketing Agency," loftily intoned News Group Newspapers' general manager Richard Webb.

"We view these as an unwelcome barrier to entry and are delighted to announce their imminent removal. We aim to provide a simple, reliable, more cost-efficient service across all our newspapers and their magazine supplements."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff