Advertisers Baulk at Dual Ad-Size Costs in Tabloid Times

01 December 2003

The additional cost of producing ads for the new dual-size UK tabloid/broadsheet The Times has riled advertisers and agencies. In answer to the question, 'who pays for the second piece of artwork?', each side points at the other.

Advertisers argue that the cost of resizing ads for the tabloid version could eventually run into millions of pounds, more so if rival broadsheets such as the Daily Telegraph follow suit.

This, says ISBA (the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) should be resisted. In a letter to members, it urges them to "take a stance" over the extra charges.

"ISBA believes that the publication of parallel tabloid-sized editions of national broadsheet titles is to be welcomed in general as a positive development for the newspaper medium. However, ISBA believes it is fundamentally wrong that advertisers should be expected to bear these additional costs over and above the cost of booking the ad space in the first place.

"With other national newspapers reportedly also considering moves to multi-format, ISBA is determined that passing these costs directly to the advertiser should not become standard practice as this would inevitably cost its members millions of pounds collectively in the long term."

The Independent, the smallest and least profitable of the broadsheet brigade, which led the trend toward dual sizing, agreed to foot the bill from the outset. Not so News Corporation-owned The Times, whose intransigence is likely founded in its relative market strength.

But Initiative Media's head of press Jane Wolfson could well be reflecting the views of many other agencies: "I have advised some clients not to advertise in the tabloid Times. It is all down to the reproduction charges."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff