If you're paying the full rate for magazine and newspaper advertising, you may be missing out on a deal. In the past year, many publishers have begun negotiating better terms than those quoted on their ad-rate cards -- offering discounts in the form of lower rates per ad placement, additional placements at no extra cost, reduced charges for special services, and improved ad positioning without premium charges.

The practice has arisen as a result of intense competition among print media for advertising dollars, which have generally been on the decline. Currently, about 35% of consumer magazines and 50% of trade magazines are negotiating ad rates, estimates Hal Katz, executive vice-president of Vitt Media International Inc., a media buying-and-planning service based in New York City. He predicts that 70% of all magazines will be doing so within five years.

"Talk with the [magazine's] salespeopple," says Joseph H. Newman, vice-president and associate media director at HMB/Creamer. "They may be willing to give things like extra mailings or pages, or free research. But get it in writing."