London afternoon freesheets thelondonpaper and London Lite face being dropped from the Audit Bureau of Circulations over allegations of newspaper dumping. The move would have serious implications for advertising revenue for both titles.
ABC could revoke proof of circulation licences for thelondonpaper, which is owned by News International, and Associated News-owned London Lite as the row over distributors dumping papers escalates.The circulation body says it is monitoring the accusations of dumping closely.
Associated claims that distributors of its rival have been throwing bundles of papers away. The publisher has taken out a press advert in the trade press showing the distributors throwing papers into bins on three separate occasions. The advert has the strapline “The free paper they can’t even give away”.
It also features a retired Scotland Yard detective inspector Phillip Swinburne, which London Lite has bought in to investigate claims of dumping.
It says: “ABC takes any transgression of the reporting standards very seriously. ABC does not currently know the extent of what is being alleged and whether this relates to any publisher’s claims or ABC certified figures at this stage.”
It adds: “If anyone believes any of the rules which have been set by the ABC Council have been infringed, the ABC complaints procedure will ensure a full investigation and the details of any upheld complaints communicated.”