Media agencies have attacked plans by London Lite to hike its advertising rates just weeks after rival freesheet thelondonpaper did the same.
The Associated News-papers title is expected to increase its advertising rates in April. But media buyers believe London Lite will benefit if it holds off raising its rates because it will help it win advertising from its rival.
One source says: "London Lite always said it would increase its rates but it should have waited to see if it could mop up some business from thelondonpaper."
Another source adds: "If Associated had decided not to increase its rates, then it could have taken a hefty bit of business from thelondonpaper. This is a very competitive market and neither of the free newspapers can afford to lose business."
Thelondonpaper has removed its launch discount this week although it had warned media buyers that it would hike its rates in the new year.
Steve Auckland, managing director of Associated’s Free Newspaper division argues that the increase in rates compares favourably against thelondonpaper’s.
He says/ "There is a small increase from April on London Lite. It is not the hefty increases that thelondon-paper is demanding from some agencies."
The changes in rates come amid difficult conditions in the newspaper ad market. The latest ABC circulation figures show thelondonpaper has extended its lead over London Lite by nearly 100,000.
Distribution of thelondonpaper increased by 13.24% from January to February to 494,127. But distribution for the London Lite fell by 0.05% to 400,780.