the announcement that News International’s thelondonpaper is set to increase ad rates from tomorrow by almost 46% comes amidst the latest volley in the battle for the capital’s evening freesheet audience. the same title recently increased it circulation by 100,000 to 500,000 – fueling further an explosion of paper onto the streets (and tube carriages).
in a presentation this morning, the title’s main rival, London Lite, outlined research that showed what most media planners suspected… that there’s essentially nothing to separate the titles, with the exception that the majority of thelondonpaper readers prefer the editorial and layout of London Lite. the thing is – so what?
the same research showed that there is around 50% cross-over between the titles. they’re reaching the same audience and so as far as an agency is concerned we should be going with the most cost efficient title – something that won’t bode too well alongside tomorrow’s significant rate increase.
this is all a little like watching two boxers of equal weight and ability (if very different styles) battle it out in a ring. who no matter how exhausted they get, have powerful backers with deep resources in each corner pushing them right back into the ring…
its a costly war for both parties. money is being lost. but there’s even more to lose if either title vanishes – and pride can be a very powerful motivator.