Industry sources say both papers are looking to increase their ad rates. It is understood that News International tried to do so in January, but after resistance from agencies, delayed until April.
One senior press director likened the footage to a 'get out of jail free card', saying it would be used to combat rises across the board.
Mark Gallagher, executive director of press at Manning Gottlieb OMD, said it is 'completely the wrong time' for smear tactics. 'I have had clients call to find out what is going on,' he said. 'We simply can't justify rate increases in this environment.'
There are also doubts over whether the titles are building an incremental readership. Many agencies are waiting to see how the papers fare in the National Readership Survey this summer.
Alan Brydon, head of press communications at Media Planning Group, said the row may push revenues back into the paid-for sector. 'Associated has made (the dumping) a big issue. If anything it will push revenues to the Evening Standard,' he said.
Video footage of Associated's investigation into the dumping of thelondonpaper can be viewed at www.thisislondon.co.uk/dumping.
In response News International has launched its own trade press campaign and released photos of dumped copies of London Lite.
- Shooting themselves in the foot, page 19.
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