Why the Mirror's Merger Will Lead to a Better Press

By Snoddy, Raymond | Marketing, January 21, 1999 | Go to article overview

Why the Mirror's Merger Will Lead to a Better Press


Snoddy, Raymond, Marketing


The prediction, made at intervals since the 1960s, that one day there will be only three national newspapers, one for every major sector of the market, has mercifully not come to pass - yet. It doesn't even seem likely although there are a few titles in the sick room.

There would be crude economies of scale in such a scenario but all history suggests when a newspaper is closed or merged there is a big loss of readers. A habit is broken and some people stop buying newspapers for good. Competition may sometimes seem so intense as to be destructive but it is far preferable than having, for the sake of argument, only The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Times.

Circulations are still declining but in business terms the range seems sustainable for a few years at least.

The most vulnerable national, The Independent, now has a relatively good home with Tony O'Reilly. The paper and its circulation are improving.

The Express has transformed itself although the jury is out on whether it can attract a new audience without alienating old readers.

The irony is by getting rid of regional papers Lord Hollick at United may have created a big opportunity for the Mirror Group, which has been seen, perhaps unfairly, as lacking strategic direction. In fact there has been a plan to expand in the regions to limit the near total dependence on the competitive popular end of the market. The purchases have included the Newsletter and Derry Journal in Northern Ireland apart from Midland Independent Newspapers. …

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