Could Express Newspapers and Daily Mail merger lead to new 'Red Top' launch?

Could the Daily Mail General Trust be set to launch a new ‘red top’ tabloid newspaper as it enters talks about a potential merger with Express Newspapers?

With merger discussion reported to have been held by DMGT and Express Newspapers, potentially leading to a merging of both company’s rival titles such as the Daily and Sunday Express with the Daily and Sunday Mail, a rumour has been reignited that this could be due to an interest from DMGT in launching a new tabloid ‘red top’ newspaper to take on News International titles.

Is such a launch possible in the current climate of falling press circulation and advertising revenue?

Charlotte Bell, director of Feather Brooksbank certainly thinks so, or at least the company could look to reinvigorate an existing title, she said while discussing the potential merger and what it could mean for advertisers with both publishers.

“Perhaps they are actually more interested in the Daily and Sunday Star, also owned by Express owner Northern Shell. This would enable them to broaden their attitudinal and demographic reach,” speculated Bell in reference to the rumour over a 'red top' launch.

Discussing the potential of a merger between both groups, Bell said that she said there was an ‘obvious synergy’ between both company’s daily titles the Mail and the Express.

“They both attract the same kind of audience, the mid-market, 45+ reader and the same types of advertisers. Merging the two would create obvious cost savings and one huge newspaper with 5.9 million readers, although I doubt they would be able to hang on to them all,” Bell explained before casting doubt on whether it would be an attractive proposition for existing advertisers for both.

“Many advertisers use both titles and would not be prepared to pay the same for one title, even with the potential massive increase in readership. The key question here - are the cost savings from the economies of scale enough to justify the high price of acquisition and the certain reduction in the present combined advertising revenue from the two groups? I’m sure Lord Rothermere (chairman of the Daily Mail & General Trust) will have done his sums!

“Is this the start of a whole raft of newspaper mergers to come? I doubt it very much. It would certainly help them to deliver significant cost savings, however, the issue for the industry is a downward trend in newspaper sales, and mergers of this nature will not help them to halt this decline,” Bell concluded.

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