The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has questioned the response of TrinityMirror to the circulation scandal at its three Birmingham papers.
Following a meeting of its media policy group, the IPA wrote to the company claiming that the freezing of ad rates on the affected titles – the Birmingham Evening Mail, the Birmingham Post, and the Sunday Mercury – and reducing ratecard prices for 2000 by 10% (Media Week, November 12) was an insufficient recompense.
In the letter, sent on November 17, the IPA welcomed the speed with which TrinityMirror had disclosed details of the scandal. However, it said the publisher’s response could be undermined by its apparent failure to mention theissue of retrospective compensation for advertisers who had used the titles since 1993, the date from which TrinityMirror has acknowledged “systematic” inflation of circulation on the titles began.
“As a result of conversations with members, we are aiming to get a framework that will lead to satisfaction in the marketplace by properly facing the retrospective issues,” said the IPA’s director general Nick Phillips.
“Talking about changes in the ratecard in the next two years does not address those issues.”
Mark Mendoza, press sales practices representative on the IPA media policy group, said the letter had “sought to clarify the positions of IPA members on the issue of compensation”.
TrinityMirror stressed it was holding an ongoing dialogue with agencies and advertisers in which the issue of retrospective compensation would be addressed. “The IPA has full knowledge of the situation and we are working with them currently,” a spokesman said.
However, some agency figures have expressed dissatisfaction about the IPA’s approach to the issue. “The letter is good enough in some respects but does not seem to go all the way,” said one.