Il Daily Mirror studia il lancio di un tabloid economico ed essenziale nelle linee e nei contenuti, provando a replicare il successo di ‘i’, l’analogo prodotto lanciato dall’Independent nel 2010, che vende 275mila copie al giorno, 5 volte tanto il quotidiano dal quale, peraltro, ricava la stragrande maggioranza dei suoi conenuti.
Si tratterebbe di una decisione in controtendenza, spiega il Financial Times, se si considera la moltitudine di testate che stanno definitivamente abbandonando la carta stampata per passare esclusivamente all’online. Come nel caso di magazine quali Fhm e Zoo, che chiudono questo mese. Mentre la free press, come Shortlist, e le edizioni economiche, come ‘i’, sembrano poter sopravviere dignitosamente.
Trinity Mirror, ricorda il Financial Times, ha appena speso 187 milioni di pound per l’acquisto di Local World, l’editore di 83 testate locali britanniche.
“Un nuovo giornale low cost dovrebbe portare nuovi investitori e profitti per il gruppo”, scrive il Financial Times, “ma il rischio è di cannibalizzare parte delle 840mila copie vendute dal Daily Mirror”.
The publisher of the Daily Mirror is working on plans to launch a cheaper tabloid newspaper, people familiar with the matter said, in the latest attempt to squeeze profits from print media.
The new publication would seek to replicate the success of i, a stripped-down newspaper launched by the Independent in 2010. The i sells 275,000 copies a day — five times the circulation of the Independent, from which it derives most of its articles.
Trinity Mirror has yet to make a final decision on whether to launch an equivalent newspaper, two people said. The company declined to comment.
The plans come at a time when many publishers are stepping back from the print market to focus on digital growth. The last lads’ magazines, FHM and Zoo, are closing this month, and a number of regional newspapers have also become online-only. But cheap publications, like the i, and free magazines, like Shortlist, have fared better.
Trinity Mirror has already emerged as one of the few UK companies willing to increase its reliance on print publications. It paid £187m for control of regional publisher Local World in October, and has held talks with Richard Desmond about acquiring the Daily Express and the Daily Star.
Simon Fox, the former HMV Group chief executive who has led Trinity Mirror for three years, has pointed to the company’s strong balance sheet as a basis for print acquisitions and investments. As of June, Trinity Mirror had net cash of £24m.
A new, low-cost newspaper would bring new advertising revenues for the company, but risk cannibalising some of the Daily Mirror’s own daily circulation of 840,000.
Newspaper print circulations have been falling by an average of 7 per cent a year in the UK, according to ABC data. Advertising revenues have dropped dramatically since the second quarter of this year.
That has led to increased price competition, with Mr Desmond halving the price of the Daily Star to 20p in October. The leftwing Daily Mirror costs 60p, while its centre-right rival, the Sun, charges 40p. The i, which is aimed at a more upmarket audience, has raised its own cover price to 40p with only a modest fall in circulation.
The i paper was one of a number of media innovations overseen by Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev after they acquired the Independent. The Russian owners also converted the Evening Standard into a free newspaper and invested in a local TV station, London Live.
However, although i has boosted the Independent’s advertising revenue, their parent company reported a £8.5m pre-tax loss last year. The Lebedevs have been looking to sell some or all of their media assets, although some potential buyers have voiced doubts over the ownership structure of the Independent’s website.
Trinity Mirror was given a boost last week, when the Crown Prosecution Service said it would not seek to prosecute either the company or 10 of its one-time journalists for phone-hacking offences. The company does face civil claims from victims of hacking, for which it has so far set aside £28m. Nonetheless, its shares are up 12 per cent in the past year, while those in rival publishers Daily Mail and General Trust and Johnston Press have fallen.
Mr Desmond recently played down the possibility of a deal between Trinity Mirror and his own titles. “It is true that an approach was made through Barclays Capital about the possibility of the Mirror buying the Express group, but I personally never had a conversation and never heard of any proposal that seemed to relate to the real world,” he said in a statement, adding that he had himself briefly considered acquiring Trinity Mirror.