You have to gape in awe at the hide of News Ltd and John Fairfax. Today’s Financial Review
reports on the attempts by both newspaper publishers to jack up
advertising rates for 2005-2006 – despite a noticeably softening ad
market, despite the steady decline in newspaper circulations, and
despite the fact that newspaper circulations are decidely dodgy, as
Crikey has been reporting over recent weeks.

At least in the
TV industry there’s some confidence that the ratings figures are above
board. Compared with that, the confidence advertisers have in
newspapers’ audited circulations have dropped as the disclosures in
Crikey have grown from insiders. Fairfax is looking at a 4-6% rise for
the weekday AFR, and is likely to be looking at a similar range for its
other newspapers – despite the fact that The Sydney Morning Herald and TheAge have both lost thousands of sales a day over the past year. The AFR reports that News Ltd is going for a similar 4-6% increase for most of its papers, despite weaker sales of The Courier Mail, Adelaide Advertiser and Daily Telegraph.

Major media buyers know that a rate rise isn’t justified – but will they cave in yet again?

And back to circulation rorts, this from a Sydney reader:

The Sun Herald are taking the whole circulation
thing so seriously that they have done a deal with Greater Union
cinemas and are now giving the paper away on Saturday night/Sunday
morning. There are hundreds of papers in each cinema stacked in big
cases with a sign saying your ticket includes a copy of the Sun Herald – please take one.