Regional newspaper publisher CN Group has today (20 June) launched a new daily newspaper ‘24: The North’s National’, a paper designed to serve a region untouched by city-based Metro.
The paper will be distributed across the north west region in Cumbria, Northumberland and parts of southern Scotland and Lancashire. It will reportedly avoid competition in big cities as the paper looks to fill a gap in the market where readers are underserved, taking a northern slant on national news.
An inside source told the Guardian: “It will be part Metro, part i, and it will serve a whole region untouched by Metro. In newspaper terms, this is a disenfranchised area. The costs for CN are minimal so it’s a low risk experiment to test whether there is an audience.”
The Monday-to-Friday paper will have a print run of 30,000 and costs 40p. Its 40 pages will report heavily on sports coverage, with a majority of the editorial content drawn from the Press Association, the Guardian reported.
The paper launched today with a front page story reporting on how children are drawn into football hooliganism.
News will be written “from a northern perspective, rather than a south-east perspective” and sports coverage will focus on “the Manchester Uniteds and the Liverpools rather than the Chelseas and the Arsenals”, CN Group editorial director David Helliwell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
"There’s so much that happens in the UK that only a fraction of it gets into our newspapers and it can be very south-dominated," Helliwell added.
The launch of the new print title comes despite the rapid demise of the New Day, a newspaper launched by Trinity Mirror this year, which folded after just two months. In hindsight, the move seems foolhardy but at the time the publisher had enough cause to believe it could make the New Day a success.
While there are many factors that contribute to the New Day’s short run, it most notably struggled to find a market and a price point, with media observers criticising a pricing strategy that jumped from 20p to 50p in too short a space of time.
By comparison, 24 has launched at 40p and has stated no intention to change that. While the New Day’s market was vague (women), 24 is targeting specific Northern towns where there isn’t much competition for Northern-slanted news. Time will tell if the regional-focused strategy will pay off.