News International to drop ad charges after tabloid row
LONDON – News International has gone some way to avoiding a row with advertisers and media agencies after agreeing to drop 'gatekeeper' charges, which advertisers had to pay twice following the Times tabloid launch last week.
Advertisers were up in arms when The Times asked them to pay the fee twice - not only for the broadsheet, but for the new tabloid version as well. The charges, which ensure ads are checked before printing, are £388 for a tabloid page and £498 for a broadsheet ad.
News International has reacted by promising to drop the charges across all its national newspaper titles, including regional editions, supplements and magazine sections, in April when it switches to fully electronic copy delivery for ads. However, it said transmission charges would still apply.
Richard Webb, general manager of News Group Newspapers, said: "We have been conscious of customer dissatisfaction with so-called gatekeeper charges for a long time and this has been reinforced by the recent consultation study produced by the Newspaper Marketing Agency. We view these as an unwelcome barrier to entry and are delighted to announce their imminent removal."
Webb added that the company has been working on the technology for over a year as it sought to iron out technical problems, which is why it was not in place for the launch of the tabloid.
Paul Hayes, general manager of Times Newspapers, said it was regrettable that News International was not able to synchronise the move to electronic copy delivery with the launch of The Times compact edition.
"It has always been our intention to provide the most cost effective solution for anyone wishing to use our titles. This new system will deliver both fast, accurate copy and cuts out the extra costs of reproduction to our clients," he said.
Advertisers will still have to pay for the production of two different ads for the different sized-publications until the changeover in April.
ISBA, which represents the interests of advertisers urged companies to stand up to publishers over the issue of paying twice for the same ad.
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