Times rethinks pricing strategy

The Times is dropping its price-cutting strategy and returning to brand-based marketing.

News International has briefed agencies pitching for The Times’ creative account to devise a heavyweight branding campaign to support the newspaper while its price increases.

The campaign will break in mid-October and the price will rise in a series of incremental moves, keeping its competitors, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, guessing about its strategy.

The price is expected to eventually settle at around 40p.

“The Times is keeping the possibility of price cutting in reserve,” says one agency source on the pitch list. “But the price war as the core strategy will be dropped and The Times will return to brand-based advertising.”

The Times is expected to try to keep its price lower than

The Daily Telegraph and The Independent. It is currently 10p cheaper than both papers, at 25p.

When The Times cut its price from 45p to 30p in August 1993 its circulation was about 360,000 and had fallen six per cent in the previous 12 months. In the July 1995 ABCs its circulation stood at 652,419.

The incumbent Arc Advertising is pitching against Lowe Howard-Spink, Publicis, WCRS and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe for both The Times and Sunday Times.

News International was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.

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