UK national newspapers 

This page covers UK national newspapers that are published from London (though often printed at satellite sites around Britain, and often regionalised) and are widely distributed in the UK countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Times readers run the country,
Telegraph readers think they run the country,
Guardian readers wish they ran the country,
Mirror readers would run the country if the Times readers didn't run it already,
Mail readers don't know who runs the country,
Express readers don't care who runs the country,
and Sun readers don't give a damn who runs the country as long as her measurements exceed 38-24-36.

This was quoted as an analysis by MPs of the readerships of UK newspapers in a Guardian diary piece in the early 1980s. There have been many variants of it (including 'FT readers pay to run the country', 'Mail readers know who should be running the country' and 'Mirror readers will run the country once the revolution comes'), but all tend to agree about Sun readers (though many in cruder terms). The TV series Yes, Prime Minister also quoted a variant.

This pages includes London's Evening Standard, which had been owned by DGMT offshoot Associated until it was sold to Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev's Evening Press Ltd in January 2009. Also, City AM, a free London financial daily.

The UK market for newspapers is unusual in the number of titles that are nationally distributed. British newspapers are analysed in the following sections:

Britain's national newspapers

The nationals can be grouped into 10 dailies and 12 Sundays. Within these two categories, they split into: popular red top/tabloids; midmarket; and quality products. The term 'tabloid' is often used to describe the smaller-sized, downmarket, popular or red-top dailies (Sun, Daily Mirror). However, the term was coined as 'tabloid journalism' by the Daily Mail's founder to describe a 'condensed journalism' as opposed to the verbose, rambling reports of papers such as the Times (until then, tabloid had referred to a small medicinal tablet). Most UK newspapers are now tabloid-sized. The Independent and then The Times adopted the format in 2004 (though they called it 'compact'). The Guardian switched to the 'Berliner' format (a taller tabloid shape used by Le Monde) in September 2005. This left only the Financial Times (which is printed in about 25 sites around the world) and the Daily Telegraph as broadsheets.

UK national newspapers Back to top
Title Type Owner Sales
(March 05)
Sun popular tabloid News International Newspapers Ltd
3, 273,116
Daily Mail midmarket tabloid Associated Newspapers (DGMT)
2,426,533
Daily Mirror popular tabloid Trinity Mirror plc
1,719,743
Daily Star popular tabloid Express Newspapers Ltd (Northern & Shell)
854,480
Daily Express midmarket tabloid Express Newspapers Ltd (Northern & Shell)
948,375
The Daily Telegraph quality broadsheet Telegraph Group Ltd
907,329
The Times quality compact News International Newspapers Ltd
679,190
The Financial Times** quality broadsheet Financial Times Ltd (Pearson)
419,386
The Guardian quality Berliner
Guardian Newspapers Ltd
366,645
Independent quality compact Independent Print Ltd
263,595

UK Sunday newspapers Back to top

News of the World popular tabloid News International Newspapers Ltd
3,649,466
The Mail on Sunday Associated Newspapers Associated Newspapers Ltd)
2,374,856
Sunday Mirror popular tabloid Trinity Mirror plc
1,534,736
The Sunday Times quality broadsheet News International Newspapers Ltd
1,400,873
The People popular tabloid Trinity Mirror plc
1,007,140
Sunday Express popular tabloid Express Newspapers
1,007,095
The Sunday Telegraph quality broadsheet Telegraph Group Ltd
686,779
The Observer quality broadsheet Guardian Newspapers Ltd (Scott Trust)
444,509
Daily Star - Sunday popular tabloid Express Newspapers
419,262
Independent on Sunday quality broadsheet Independent Print Ltd
208,563
The Business quality broadsheet The Business
204,005
Sunday Sport popular tabloid Sport Newspapers Ltd
151,892

*Trinity Mirror also publishes popular tabloid daily Daily Record and popular tabloid Sunday Mail in Scotland
** Most of the FT's circulation is outside the UK: 128,216 is the UK sales figure
Source: ABC

Newspaper groups and their titles Back to top

Newspaper groups Titles owned Market share (daily)
News International (Rupert Murdoch) Sun, Times, Sunday Times, News of the World 35%
Trinity Mirror plc Mirror, Sunday Mirror, People, Daily Record 25%
Northern & Shell (Richard Desmond) Express, Express on Sunday, Star 14%
Daily Mail and General Trust Mail, Mail on Sunday 19%
Telegraph Group (Barclay brothers) Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, The Business 7%
Guardian Media Group (Scott Trust) Guardian, Observer 3%
Pearson plc Financial Times 1%
   

Associated Newspapers Ltd (Daily Mail) Back to top

Owns the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, London freesheets Metro and London Lite, Ireland on Sunday and the free classified advertising weekly Loot (since October 2001). It also runs the Harmsworth Quays print plant in London's Docklands. The company was established in 1905 and is a subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc. In February 1999, the trust became the ninth media group to hold a place in the London stock market's list of top 100. Sold control of Evening Standard to Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev in January 2009 during freesheet war with News International.
Daily Mail Founded in 1896 as a popular half-penny broadsheet with the new class of literate working woman in mind by Irish-born Alfred Harmsworth (later Viscount Northcliffe). He had made his first fortune with Answers magazine founded in 1888. The coining of the word 'tabloid' has been credited to him. Reached a million sales in 1900. Middle-market, right-leaning. Saturday edition includes Weekend features and TV listings magazine. Tabloid format dates to 1971 when Associated merged the broadsheet Mail with the Daily Sketch under new editor David English. Popular with women. Continued growing in 1980s under the editorship of (Sir David) English. His successor Paul Dacre has seen it overtake the Express and the Mirror. Website is very popular outside UK with content much m ore based on celebrities.
London Lite (closed)

Closed in November 2009 after sale of 75% of Evening Standard and its subsequent move to a free revenue model, and Free evening tabloid paper for London launched on 30 August 2006 to protect Associated's Evening Standard and Metro titles against News International's launch, The London Paper. Shared Thisislondon website with the Standard. About 400,000 copies a day were being given away in 2009.

Mail on Sunday Sister to Daily Mail since 1982. Launched with Bernard Shrimsley as editor but David English refused to allow daily's contributors to write for it. Several months later English was knighted, ousted Shrimsley and brought in his writers - an event known on the paper as 'The Knight of the Long Knives'. Comes with You, a women’s magazine; Night & Day, for features and arts; and Financial Mail on Sunday. The Night & Day supplement was relaunched in 2007 at a cost of £8m to attract more male readers - an unusual move given that both the daily and Sunday papers have traditionally focused on women.
Metro Free morning colour tabloid launched with 40 pages in March 1999 in London, adopting a popular Continental model. It was designed to be read in 20 minutes. Reports put the initial run at 100,000 with dispensers at 72 stations (forecast to rise to 300,000 from 2000). By the end of 2006, versions were available in 12 cities around Britain.
7Days 7Days is a free, English language daily published Sunday to Friday in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Some 75,000 copies are distributed.
Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd One of the top five regional groups. Has 20 daily titles, 27 paid-for weeklies, 62 freesheets and 24 regional web portals, usually with names like www.thisissouthwales.co.uk. Also has Hungarian newspaper interests.
A&N Media

Develops and runs websites for Associated Newspapers, Northcliffe Media and A&N International Media, such as: This is London; This is Money (February 1999); Femail; Teletext Holidays; and UK Plus search engine. In January 2006, bought Primelocation.com. In August 2006, A&N bought website SimplySwitch, which allows consumers to compare prices for energy, home phone, mobile, broadband and credit cards, and switch services, for £22 million. However, in March 2008, DMGT shut it down because it had failed to attract enough traffic. It was bought by price-comparison website Moneyexpert.com. Other websites have failed or were sold: This is Travel; UK Plus search engine; Zoom e-commerce portal with Arcadia (Innovations, Hawkshead catalogues); Charlotte Street for women; Big Blue Dog for recruitment Soccernet (sold to Walt Disney). Closed Teletext television operations in December 2009

Back to top

City AM Back to top

City AM is a free daily business paper distributed to commuters at 250 locations across London and the home counties, and 1,600 offices. The paper claims a daily readership of 275,000 from an ABC certified distribution figure of 128,152 for the first half of 2013. Readers have an average salary of over £87,000.

City AM launched in September 2005 with 24 full-colour pages and the initial 60,000 copies were printed by Cambridge Newspapers. Its working title was London Business Daily. The paper's strapline was: 'The world of business - and the players behind it.'

Former Sunday Express business editor David Parsley was the first editor working from offices near London Bridge station. It aimed to 'bring a touch of the culture of showbiz and celebrity' to covering the 'people who make London's financial districts tick'. Columnists included: Richard Northedge on the City; Ray Snoddy on media; Sam Torrence on golf; and Vicki Butler-Henderson on motoring. It was described as the 'parish newspaper for the City of London and Canary Wharf'.

It was frequently compared with the Financial Times, whose editor, Andrew Gowers, described it in an Independent interview as 'a well-produced product with a good eye for a front-page story.' 'If you want a quick overview of some key stories and you're not near a screen then you can get it from City AM. But if you want added value in terms of stories other people don't have, analysis and authoritative comment then the FT is still the place to go.' ('Pink 'Un goes BlackBerry' by Ian Burrell, 26 September, p4.)

The company, also called City AM, was headed by Lawson Muncaster, who had worked as head of of global advertising sales at Swedish freesheet group Metro International. He was joined by another executive from the company, Jens Torpe. It gained initial funding of £10m. In November 2005, the company applied to register the trade mark City PM, but said it had no plans to launch an evening edition. By the end of thee year it had launcheed a property supplement and talked of editions in Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester and Leeds.

By the middle of 2006, City AM was trying 'to distance itself from an FT-style readership' with more middle-managers and not necessarily working in a financial business, according to Media Week. It quoted Jeremy Slattery, head of advertising at City AM: 'We believe the business person is also a consumer and we have created a platform to deliver both messages. Basically, the front half is about making money and the back half is about spending it.' ('Financial press try to reinvent to survive' by Sheelagh Doyle, 25 July, p20.) Later in the summer, it ceased publication for 11 days on the grounds that the City was on holiday.

Circulation grew even in the face of more free sheets launched in London - there were four in 2007. It carried lighter sections such as River Rat and ran a bonus supplement to coincide with City payouts. Its ad sales strategy was questioned in some quarters when it carried non-conventional, triangular ad spaces for Samsung and then a wraparound advertisement for the Times proclaiming: Sharper business writing. The Times. TimesOnline. No 1 for Business.' It also ran fund manager Lyxor Asset Management as sole advertiser in a review of the year edition just before Christmas.

In February 2008, Allister Heath left Andrew Neil's Business magazine the day before it closed to take over as editor from David Parsley, who had resigned in August. Heath retained a position as associate editor of the Spectator, a sister title to the Business, also owned by Telegraph publisher Press Holdings.

City AM announced its first profit in the six months to March 2008, raising expectations of an eventual sale. By July, the four free London papers had circulation figures of City AM, 95,000; London Lite, 400,000; the London Paper, 500,000 and London Metro just under 750,000. City AM revived the idea of regional editions, in Manchester and Edinburgh.

In autumn 2012, City AM announced plans to launch, Bespoke, a monthly luxury lifestyle magazine to to pull in upmarket advertising, but also said profits had slumped 95% slump to £20,000 in 2011. Even though two free papers, London Lite (Nov 2009) and the London Paper (sept 2009), had closed, competition had increased in the free sector with the Standard turning free, growth in free weekly magazines, and Time Out going free:

  • Evening Standard, 600,000 copies since October 2009
  • Metro, 780,000 (March 1999);
  • Shortlist, 529,000
  • Stylist, 431,000 (Oct 2009)
  • Time Out, 300,000;
  • Sport, 300,000;
  • City AM, 130,000.

 

 

 

Back to top

Evening Press Ltd (London Evening Standard) Back to top

Company formed in December 2008 by Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB agent turned banker, who owns a minority share in the Moscow paper Novaya Gazeta with Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet president. Lebedev took over the Evening Standard from Associated on 21 January 2009 after months courting its owner Lord Rothermere. He paid £1 for a 75.1% stake at a time when the paper could have been losing as much as £20 million a year. It was the first time DGMT had sold a paper. Questions were asked about the security implications of a former spy, who had been based in London for several years, controlling a British paper (there is a long history of journalists - such as James Bond author and Sunday Times writer Ian Fleming - feeding intelligence to security services).

Lebedev told the Guardian: ‘As far as I'm concerned this [buying the Standard] has nothing to do with making money. There are lots of other ways. This is a good way to waste money’ (‘Welcome, comrade proprietor’, 15 January 2009, p1). The FT reported that just one director – 28-year-old Evgeny, Lebedev’s son, boyfriend of actress Joely Richardson and owner of Sake No Hana restaurant, was listed as a director for Evening Press Ltd. The company was registered in December 2008 with a share capital of £40 million - ‘quite a lot for a shell company’ (‘Lebedev junior's Evening Press’, 20 Jan 2009, p18).

In its first year of trading, Evening Press lost £28.3m.

London Evening Standard

Became a free daily after being bought by Lebedev from DGMT. Had been London's sole paid-for evening paper since 1980 when formed as a result of a merger between the Standard and Evening News. Standard title dates back to 1827. An erosion in quality led Robert Maxwell to launch London Daily News in 1987. Associated responded by re-launching the Evening News at half the cover price and squeezed Maxwell out a year later. The Evening News was then closed. Another competitor, free paper Tonight, closed within a year of its launch in 1994.

Rupert Murdoch-controlled News International - with much deeper pockets - was reported as planning to launch a free evening as long ago as 1999 and The London Paper finally appeared in August 2006. However, Associated had got in first with Metro. Using the same tactics as against Maxwell, DGMT launched London Lite to protect the Standard and Metro. However, the battle took a toll on Standard's sales and DMGT was forced to sell control of the title to Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev. He took a 75.1% stake in January 2009.

The Standard was relaunched in May under Geordie Greig, former editor of society magazine Tatler, with a brief to focus on upbeat news. Redesigns have seen it adopt the look of Bauer's fashion weekly Grazia with the use of flourescent yellow panels. It expanded its title to become the London Evening Standard. It publishes three editions a day, Monday to Friday, printing at 10am, 3pm and 5pm. On four days it comes with a supplement: London Jobs (Mondays); Homes & Property (Wednesday); Metro Life, a listings guide (Thursdays); and glossy ES Magazine, with celebrity features and arts (Fridays). Carries a media page on Wednesdays.

Back to top

Guardian Media Group Back to top

Run by the Scott Trust to prevent papers falling into the hands of interfering proprietors (named after pioneering editor CP Scott). Now only owns two newspapers Guardian and Observer, having sold regional papers amid restructuring in 2007-10. The money was to be invested in digital expansion and radio. Substantial magazine interests. See Guardian's Newsroom archive for history of the paper.
The Guardian

Liberal, quality daily. Free website. Nickname: the 'Grauniad' because of its reputation for literals (which even appeared in a Netscape browser issued by the paper.) Founded as the Manchester Guardian in 1821 and was the first daily outside London in 1855. Changed its name in 1959 and moved offices to London in 1961.

Switched from broadsheet to Berliner format (tall tabloid; 315 by 470mm) on 12 September 2005. Accompanying redesign of mould-breaking David Hillman look from 1988 led by Mark Porter; liked in the design world but expensive and a questionable commercial decision. New typeface by Christian Schwartz, Guardian Egyptian. Colour throughout after £80 million investment in MAN Roland ColorMan presses (printed in London and Manchester). Interview with Porter at Design Museum. Guardian reports and pictures of the changes. On 15 January 2012 Porter tweaked the design as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

'Unlimited' series of special interest websites began in late 1998. Bookselling deal announced with Bertelsmann Online in February 1999, but BOL later closed. Among the names the websites have come under are:

In 1997, appointed a readers' editor and column of corrections and clarifications. By 2005, 10,000 letters a year were being received and 1,500 entries in the column printed. The principle being that 'a newspaper such as the Guardian, which by definition calls on others to be accountable for what they do, should be accountable for its own journalistic activities'.

Widely-praised redesign by David Hillman of Pentagram in early 1988 introduced 'white space' (known as 'art holes' by cynics) to British daily papers with Garamond, Miller and Helvetica typefaces. April 1999 saw a redesign led by Simon Esterson (who had done work on the Observer and was appointed one of only 200 Royal Designers for Industry by the RSA in 2001), which seemed to adopt a more Observer-like look.Very successful classified advertising strategy of introducing themed supplements (Monday, media; Tuesday, education; Wednesday, society; Thursday, technology; Friday, arts review). Various magazine supplements launched in late 1990s.

The Guardian's London offices were in Farringdon Road, but it moved north to King's Cross in 2008.

The Observer The world's oldest Sunday paper: founded in 1791 by W.S. Bourne. Switch to Berliner format as part of a relaunch on 8 January 2006. A Liberal, quality broadsheet. Controlled by the Guardian Media Group since 1993. Before then, often criticised for supporting the interests of its owner company Lonhro and chairman Tiny Rowland, particularly in his battles with Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed (who relaunched Punch in early 1996). Published free monthly themed supplements as well as its main magazine: Sport, Music, O Fashion, Woman but several closd in 2010-11. The Observer shares the Guardian's offices in King's Cross. In 2009, there were reports that the Guardian was considering turning the paper into a weekly magazine of the same name.
Regional newspapers (sold 2010)

Sold Manchester Evening News and Surrey Advertiser (Guildford) and rest of portfolio of 32 paid-for and free titles to to Trinity Mirror plc for £44.8m in February 2010.

Other activities

Sold Money Observer financial magazine to Moneywise in 2008. In March 2007, sold 49.9% stake in Trader Media Group to private equity group Apax for about £674m. Based around regionalised editions of Auto Trader magazine (seen as a cash cow for the group). Emap business magazines (since 2008); 41.9% stake in Delicious publisher Seven Publishing; and 29.5% stake n The Word publisher Development Hell. Has a history of dabbling in magazines. Launched a UK version of Wired in 1995, though this closed after a couple of years.

Radio interests. Owns Trafford Park Printers; educational web materials developer Learnthings.

Back to top

Independent Print Ltd

When The Independent was launched in 1986, it was controlled by a consortium of backers and so was 'independent' of any proprietor. However, poor sales as a result of lack of investment and cutting staff saw it fall into the hands of the Mirror Group and later the Irish newspaper group controlled by Tony O'Reilly. Owns papers in Australasia, Ireland and South Africa. In March 2010, London Evening Standard owners Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev paid a nominal £1 for the loss-making Independent and Independent on Sunday (in fact, Independent News & Media (INM) paid the Lebedevs $9.25 million to take over the titles).
The Independent Launched by former Daily Telegraph journalist Andreas Whittam-Smith on October 7 1986 after the Times was seen to drop its politically-independent line to support Margaret Thatcher and lose its position as Britain's paper of record. Known as the 'Indie'. Only quality daily launch in the UK in the 20th century, made possible by the advent of desktop publishing. Boosted sales in September 2003 through adopting 'compact' format, initially alongside broadsheet. By spring 2004, dropped broadsheet version. Move soon followed by The Times. Launched MediaWeekly supplement in 2004, challenging Guardian on Mondays.

Original offices were in London's City Road overlooking Bunhill Fields cemetery (burial place of many famous 17th and 18th century writers), hence the title of Bunhill's Notes in Sunday business pages. The 'Weasel' column in the Saturday magazine comes from the nursery rhyme:

'Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel'.

A pub called the Eagle still stands on City Road and 'popping the weasel' means pawning an iron, a popular practice with poor tailors in the area.

Independent on Sunday Sister paper to the Independent since January 28, 1990. Nick-named 'Sindy'. 250,000 sales
i (the essential daily briefing from the Independent) The 20p i newspaper was launched in October 2000 by the Independent for readers who wanted a concise, better quality daily than the free papers but did not want to pay the price. In May 2011, a 30p Saturday edition was launched. By 2011, the i was selling 221,715 copies a day. It was run by Stefano Hatfield, formerly at News International. In the 23 January 2011 issue, Hatfield introduced a new Monday cartoonist, Ben Jennings, who had won the 2011 political cartoon of the year award for a Gadaffi cartoon in the Guardian in August, though still at university. Hatfield also added a daily Codeword to the puzzle page, saying 'This is something readers have asked for since i launched - particularly many of you transferring to us from a rival paper that contains one.' (The Daily Mail carried such a puzzle on its centre spread coffee break page.)
Back to top

News International (Sun, Times)  

Part of the international News Corp group controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Focus of scandal in 2010 over phone hacking at the News of the World, which was closed as a result, and led to the Leveson inquiry into the ethical standards of the press, both papers and magazines. Has big stake in BSkyB satellite television and ITV (used, controversially in 2006 to block a merger between ITV and Virgin), and controls book publisher HarperCollins. Extensive media interests in the US and Australia. Murdoch changed from being an Australian to take up US citizenship so he could control the Fox TV network. Murdoch's family has succeeded in retaining control of News Corp, and in the 1990s concentrated on television assets in the US and UK. In 2004, Murdoch announced that the group would switch its emphasis online, buying Intermix Media, for about $580m in 2005 - which gave it control of social networking website MySpace.com.

Having arrived in the UK from Australia to beat Robert Maxwell in buying the News of the World in 1968, Murdoch bought the Sun from IPC. He relaunched this in November 1969 with a 'sex and sensation' formula - personified by topless Page 3 girls. He then bought the Times and Sunday Times and broke the Fleet Street unions by moving to Wapping in 1986.

The London Paper (closed) The London Paper was an evening freesheet launched on 4 September 2006 against Associated's Standard. It was given away outside Underground and rail stations. Set up as a low-cost operation under editor Stefano Hatfield, who had launched the Metro freesheet in New York and edited advertising trade weekly Campaign in the UK - he went on to head up the Independent's 20p sister paper i.

The paper had a free distribution of about 500,000 copies in July 2009. As a result, Associated sold the loss-making Standard. However, the Murdoch paper fell victim to the recession and announced in August 2009 that the final issue of the London Paper was likely to be on Friday 18 September

The Sun (became a seven-day paper in February 2012) Right-leaning popular tabloid. Best-selling of the 'red-top' dailies, having overtaken the Mirror in 1978, with a formula of sensational stories and topless Page 3 girls created by Larry Lamb. At its jingoistic height in the Thatcher era with controversial headlines such as 'Gotcha' for the sinking of the Argentinian battleship General Belgrano in the Falklands war. Often credited with swinging public opinion against the Labour leader Neil Kinnock, leading to a third term as prime minister for Margaret Thatcher. Editor Kelvin Mackenzie (1981 to 1994) was the most successful tabloid editor of his generation, but lost his way by taking on the Queen in a copyright row after breaking an embargo to publish her Christmas speech. Sun readers sided with the Queen in a telephone poll. Mackenzie was out six months later. Launched free internet provision in April 1999 at Currantbun.com. Later renamed Bun.com, then Page3.com. After the closing of the News of the World in 2011, a Sunday edition was launched on 26 February 2012. This retained the NoW's Fabulous magazine
The Times Free access to archive limited to seven days. Nickname 'The Thunderer', because, some say, of the sound of the presses as they started up. However, Bernard Falk in his autobiography He laughed in Fleet Street (Hutchinson, 1933) says it was because 'a leading article from the pen of Captain Sterling opened one morning with the words, "We thundered forth the other day an article..."'. 

Launched on 1 January 1785 by John Walter I as the Daily Universal Register. Renamed on 1 January 1788. Established its reputation for honesty under John Walter II from 1803, who installed steam printing in 1814, and possibly the greatest editor of the century, John Barnes (1817-41). By 1823 it was 'the greatest engine of temporary opinion in the world…' and the paper of record for Britain, then the most powerful country in the world following the defeat of Napoleon, despite the loss of the Americas. US president Abraham Lincoln said it was 'the most powerful thing in the world except, perhaps, the Mississippi river'. 

Carried classified advertising on its front page until 1966 and on the back page until 1982. On Friday 13, 1981 it became a sister paper to the Sun, as part of Rupert Murdoch's News International. In 1986, Murdoch broke the print unions by moving to 'Fortress' Wapping, though the damage done to the paper's quality and reputation opened the door for the Independent. Led fierce price war from 1993 when it cut the cover price from 45p to 30p (and 10p on Monday). This raised sales at the expense of the Independent, Telegraph and Express.

News of the World (closed 2011) Sunday paper to the Sun and Times. Founded in 1843. Bought by Murdoch in 1969; in doing so created intense rivalry with Robert Maxwell. The largest-selling paper in Britain at 4.5 million copies each Sunday (though down from 8.5 million in 1950). Closed as a result of the Milly Dowler phone-hacking scandal in July 2011, though its colour magazine, Fabulous, was transferred to the Saturday Sun and then the Sunday edition launched on 26 February 2012. The scandal led to the Leveson inquiry into the ethical standards of the press, both papers and magazines, at which editors of all the nationals were questioned, as well as those at Now, Hello! and OK!
The Sunday Times (1882) Best-selling of the Sunday, quality broadsheets. Launched colour supplement in 1962. Bought from the Thomson Group with other Times papers in 1981. In recent decades, at its height in the pre-Murdoch days under the editorship (1967-81) of Harry Evans who nurtured investigative journalism under the Insight banner and championed design. See his books: Good Times, Bad Times (3rd ed, 1994, Phoenix, London); and his five-part series on newspaper journalism, Pictures on a Page, Newsman's English, Newspaper Design, Text Typography and Newspaper Headlines. Also see Design article 'News that's fit to print' about the influence of Sunday Times and Observer in changing the role of the sub-editor and designer on newspapers. Commercially successful in 1980s and 1990s under Andrew Neil, who introduced the concept of the 'supermarket' newspaper with a section aimed at all kinds of readers. Neil is regularly lampooned in Private Eye.
Today [closed] Closed by News Corporation in November 1995. The tabloid was launched by local newspaper group owner Eddy Shah in March 1986 as the UK's first colour national paper. He sold it to Lonrho, the trading group that also owned the Observer, before it was bought by Rupert Murdoch in July 1987. The closure was seen as a blow to the then-opposition Labour party, led by Tony Blair, because it was the only tabloid with a left-of-centre political stance. The cost of a price war instigated by the Times, pressure on printing capacity from that paper's rising circulation, a rise in newsprint costs - up by half in a year - and the paper's falling circulation (at 573,680) were cited as factors in the closure decision. Mohamed Fayed, owner of Harrods who a year later relaunched Punch, said he wanted to take over the paper but talks failed.
Times supplements In October 2005, News International sold its weekly specialist tabloids Times Educational Supplement (TES), Times Higher Educational Supplement (THS), Nursery World and other newspapers, magazines, websites and exhibitions to Exponent, a private equity group, for almost £235m. These had been seen as cash cows. The group retained the Times Literary Supplement (TLS), which began as a supplement to The Times in 1902 and became a separate publication in 1914. All the supplements have moved away from a tabloid newspaper format to a magazine structure. Website Times Money launched but closed. 
News International Magazines

Set up in 2005 with a brief to capitalise on the growing weeklies market. NI already had two monthly spin-offs from the Sunday Times: Travel (a contract title by River since 1993) and Inside Out (closed in early 2007). Women's weekly Love It! launched in February 2006. Reported to be researching weekly news magazine. Took licence for Sky magazine - the UK's biggest circulation title for BSkyB's 8m subscribers - from John Brown in December 2006 (Murdoch has always been fond of keeping money within the group).

Back to top

Northern & Shell (Express Newspapers)

Top-shelf magazines and OK! publisher Richard Desmond bought Express newspapers from Lord Hollick's United MAI for £125m in November 2000. Hollick reformed United as a business magazine and business group, United Business Media. Desmond's interest in music - he plays the drums - had started with the launch International Musician in 1974, but it was producing the UK edition of US adult magazine Penthouse that made his first fortune. Bought Channel 5 in 2011 to exploit programmes such as Big Brother.

United MAI had been formed by the merger in 1996 of Lord Stevens's newspaper-based Express group with Lord Hollick's TV and finance-based MAI group (Anglia, HTV and Meridian franchises as well as production companies). Owned NOP and United Information Group; PR Newswire and Newsdesk International, which distribute press releases online; big shareholder with BT and News International in LineOne Internet provider; Telegraph Colour Library. Sold off consumer magazines (Punch, Auto Express, etc) to concentrate on its Miller Freeman business titles (renamed after US subsidiary; formerly known as Morgan-Grampian). Sold Westminster regional newspapers in 1998 for £450 million (became Regional Independent Media).

The Express Founded in 1900 by C. Arthur Pearson who had worked on George Newnes’ Tit-Bits before going on to establish Pearson’s Weekly (1890) and Pearson's Magazine (1896). Middle-market, right-leaning tabloid. Owned by Lord Beaverbrook from 1916 to 1964. Steady decline since with many short-term editors, lack of investment and then cost-cutting and focus on celebrities and cheap, populist journalism under Desmond. The original art deco Fleet Street office was known in the 1950s as the Black Glasshouse but later christened the Black Lubyanka by Private Eye. The newsroom was used in the film The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) with the recently retired real editor, Arthur Christiansen, playing fictional editor Jeff Jefferson
Daily Star 'Red-top' tabloid launched in 1978. The first new national for 75 years, it tried to take on the Sun with colour centre spreads of topless 'Star Birds'. Sister to the Express. Lack of investment meant failure as mass-market title. Now a niche paper aimed at 'lads' with frivolous, sports-based approach
Express on Sunday Similar editorial strategy and sales as the daily
Daily Star Sunday September 2002 launch
Other activities Lads' portal Megastar spun off from Daily Star. Clutch of magazines at Northern & Shell, including gossip weekly OK!
Back to top

Pearson plc 

International media and entertainment group. By 2005, structured as three divisions: Financial Times Group, Penguin books and Pearson Education.

From being a diverse group of quality companies (including Château Latour, Warwick Castle, Madame Tussauds and oil interests), Pearson concentrated on publishing and TV in the 1990s. In February 1999, it merged Addison-Wesley Longman and Financial Times Management books imprints under one Pearson Education banner. This followed the purchase of educational division of Simon and Schuster from US entertainment group Viacom for $4.6 billion in 1998, making Pearson the largest educational publisher in the world. This included Prentice Hall in the UK. Sold local newspaper group Westminster Press in 1997 and consumer magazines, including Future Publishing in April 1998 (for £142m).

Then, it sold the TV division, which included Thames, Grundy (makers of Neighbours) and Pearson TV (Men Behaving Badly) to RTL in mid-1990s, along with rights to games show formats such as Blankety Blank, Blockbuster, Family Fortunes and The Price is Right.

US-born chief executive, Marjorie Scardino, was the first female head of a top 100 UK company. She revealed after an RSA lecture (RSA Journal, April 1999) that the question she was most frequently asked was whether the company would relocate to the USA. 2012 marked her 15th year as head of the group

Financial Times

Launched in 1888, the world's leading financial daily. First chairman was Horatio Bottomley, who went on to become an MP and launch John Bull but was jailed for selling fake war bonds in 1922. About 70% of sales outside the UK. Has daily editions for UK, Europe, US and Asia printed at about 25 sites. Printed on pink paper since 1893. Lex column once advised readers not to support the FT's owners Pearson in its plan to buy British Aluminium, since when the column has not covered Pearson. Website has pioneered a paid-for model with limited free access.

One of the first daily newspapers to exploit the potential of the Saturday paper. FT Weekend includes the monthly How To Spend It, which is a tabloid-sized glossy, and weekly FT Magazine.

Business publishing Has FT Business conference division. Magazine publishing division has 14 titles, including Investors Chronicle and The Banker. In September 2005, How to be Better Off, a quarterly magazine, with BBC Worldwide.
FT Business profile
Other sites The Economist (half owned by FT); Chinese.FT.com; sold interest in FT Deutschland to Gruner and Jahr in 2007, shortly after selling stake in French business paper Les Echos.
Back to top

Press Holdings Ltd (Telegraph)

Press Holdings is controlled by the Barclay brothers, Sir David and Sir Frederick. They bought the Telegraph group in 2004 from Hollinger International after main shareholder Conrad Black became embroiled in financial scandal (and was later jailed in the US).

Started by buying the European in November 1991 after the death of disgraced Robert Maxwell. The weekly had gone through several formats, from broadsheet newspaper to tabloid newsprint magazine before being closed in 1998. Then The Business (was Sunday Business) in September 1997 and The Scotsman. Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil has been editor-in-chief since 1996, and publisher since 1999. Press Holdings sold the Scotsman papers to Johnston Press in December 2005 for £160m. Backed down from buying the Glasgow-based Herald newspapers in 2003 after protests from Scottish establishment. In late 2006, relaunched the weekly Sunday newspaper Business as a magazine, but this was closed in early 2008 (in favour of launching a business magazine off the back of The Spectator).

Lord Black and Hollinger had gained control of the Telegraph in 1986, after the previous owners, the Berry family, faced financial problems. However, Black himself faced mounting difficulties from the end of 2003. These included lawsuits by angry fellow shareholders in Hollinger International; inquiries by the powerful US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission; and an investigation by an independent committee at Hollinger International itself.

The Scotsman Edinburgh-based daily sold to Johnston Press in 2005
Scotland on Sunday Sunday sister to Scotsman sold to Johnston Press in 2005
The Business (folded into The Spectator) Launched in April 1996 by Tom Rubython as The Sunday Business. Went into receivership a year later. Bought by Barclay brothers and relaunched in February 1998. In July 2006, announced intention to relaunch title in October as a weekly business magazine coming out on Thursdays. Running of the title to be combined with The Spectator and arts and antiques magazine Apollo. However, closed in early 2008 (in favour of launching a business magazine off the back of The Spectator).
The European Weekly colour broadsheet launched by infamous Robert Maxwell. Bought by Barclays in 1992 after his death. In July 1997 plans were set out to transform The European into an upmarket magazine but it closed in 1998. European case study
The Daily Telegraph Britain's best-selling quality paper with strong news and sports coverage. Right-wing (nickname: the Torygraph). Sister paper the Sunday Telegraph. Failed to hold on to a million sales a day, after long price-cutting campaign by the Times. Had overtaken the Times soon after its launch in 1855 (originally as The Daily Telegraph and Courier) when the price was cut to a penny. The re-introduction of the word 'The' in the paper's title was the subject of a front-page news item when Max Hastings took over as editor. The first of the UK broadsheets to mount a significant web presence (although the Guardian's Online section on a Thursday had long used electronic bulletin boards and e-mail). Also has special interest 'satellite' sites. In 2006, an internal reorganisation saw many redundancies and the launch of a digital newsroom.
Has digital subscription service
Sunday Telegraph Sister to the Telegraph founded in 1961
The Spectator Right-wing political weekly magazine carrying quality writing. Established 1828. Claims to be the oldest continuously-published magazine in the English language. Bought by Conrad Black in 1988. Glorious history of publishing some of Britain's most famous writers since the Victorian era. String of recent famous editors includes: Anthony Howard (-1979); Alexander Chancellor (1979-84); Charles Moore (1984-90); Dominic Lawson (1990-95), son of Nigel Lawson, the former Conservative Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher; Frank Johnson (1995-2000); Boris Johnson (2000-06); Matthew d'Ancona (2007-). See: To Convey Intelligence: The Spectator 1928-98 by Simon Courtauld, Profile, 1999.
Other Telegraph sites Several attempts to create brands based around newspaper readership faltered and these have been rebranded as part of the paper: Juiced student magazine; Internet for Schools; The Planet for travel; Connected based on Tuesday's science and technology pages; Global Network for ex-pats based on weekly overseas version of the paper; Telegraph Appointments Plus. Books Online now run by Splashweb. Other launches sold or closed down: UK Max search engine; luxury goods portal Best of British sold to Whittards in June 2000. Handbag.com sold to National Magazine Company (now Hearst Magazines UK). Had been launched with Boots in October 1999 targeting women with a free ISP. Boots claimed 90% of all UK women went through its doors each week and the Electronic Telegraph reached a million online.
Other Apollo arts and antiques monthly magazine founded in 1925
Back to top

Trinity Mirror plc (Mirror)  

Claims to be the biggest UK newspaper publisher with 250 titles. Formed from takeover of Mirror Group by Trinity regional group in 1999. Announced £150m web strategy in 2000 to create offshoots of ic24 ISP (see below). Earlier, Mirror Group had been bought from Reed International by the infamous Robert Maxwell in 1986. Sold after his death in 1991 to a group headed by David Montgomery with, for the first four months, Lord Hollick as chairman. Group strategy fell apart in early 1999 with acrimonious departure of chief executive David Montgomery (nick-named Rommel: 'because Monty was on our side') in dispute with chairman Victor Blank. Sold off 18% share in Scottish Media Group to Granada as part of restructuring in March 1999. Then bought by Trinity. National newspapers divided into MGN Ltd and Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail Ltd. Some 240 regional newspapers run as 10 operating businesses account for almost a quarter of the regional market.
The Mirror Popular, Labour Party-supporting 'red-top' tabloid founded in 1903 by Irish-born Alfred Harmsworth (later Viscount Northcliffe). He had made his first fortune with Answers magazine founded in 1888. The largest-selling paper from the 1930s until the 1970s, when it was overtaken by Rupert Murdoch's Sun. In the 1980s, a circulation battle with the Sun saw Robert Maxwell introduce a £1 million bingo prize - and put himself on the cover promoting it. First mass market daily to use colour regularly (1988), though smaller circulation Today had colour and the Mirror's Scottish sister, the Daily Record earlier.
Sunday Mirror Sister to the Mirror. Founded as Sunday Pictorial in 1915; changed name in 1963
The Sunday People Sunday tabloid, part of the Mirror Group. Established 1881
Racing Post and Sporting Life Sporting Life founded in 1859, but merged with Racing Post in May 1998 by Mirror Group. Trinity Mirror sold Racing Post for £170m to Irish private equity group FL Partners in October 2007. The Post had been launched by Sheikh Mohamed in 1986, but sold to the Mirror in December 1997. Plans to re-launch the Life as a daily sporting paper, along a Continental model, dropped in March 1999. However, the name lives on as a website and betting venture as part of BSkyB. 

Sporting Life was commonly known as the Queen Mother's favourite newspaper. Jamie Reid in a commentary on its closure (Guardian, 5/3/99, p23) said: 'Whenever a British film in the Forties and Fifties wanted to signify that some George Cole or Terry Thomas character was a touch wide, they would show them smoking a Players Navy Cut and reading the Sporting Life'. According to research quoted by Roy Greenslade (Guardian Media, 8/3/99, p4), a daily sporting paper might achieve of 220,000 copies a day (plus or minus 40,000). This was based on a cover price of 40p with a weekday pagination of 48 and 80 pages on a Sunday. However, the marketing bill would have been £10 million in the first year and Mirror group was in poor financial shape following the departure of chief executive David Montgomery a month before and a bidding war which had broken out for the group between regional newspaper groups Trinity and Regional Independent Media.

Daily Record The largest-selling Scottish paper, claiming a readership by half of the Scottish population. First national paper to carry extensive colour (1971).
Sunday Mail (Scotland) sister to the Daily Record.
Regional newspapers Mirror Group Regional Newspapers, a top five regional company with 44 papers, including Midland Independent Newspapers acquired in 1997 (Birmingham Post and Evening Mail) and Northern Ireland's number two title, the News Letter.
Racing Post and Sporting Life Sporting Life founded in 1859, but merged with Racing Post in May 1998 by Mirror Group. Trinity Mirror sold Racing Post for £170m to Irish private equity group FL Partners in October 2007. The Post had been launched by Sheikh Mohamed in 1986, but sold to the Mirror in December 1997. Plans to re-launch the Life as a daily sporting paper, along a Continental model, dropped in March 1999. However, the name lives on as a website and betting venture as part of BSkyB. 

Sporting Life was commonly known as the Queen Mother's favourite newspaper. Jamie Reid in a commentary on its closure (Guardian, 5/3/99, p23) said: 'Whenever a British film in the Forties and Fifties wanted to signify that some George Cole or Terry Thomas character was a touch wide, they would show them smoking a Players Navy Cut and reading the Sporting Life'. According to research quoted by Roy Greenslade (Guardian Media, 8/3/99, p4), a daily sporting paper might achieve of 220,000 copies a day (plus or minus 40,000). This was based on a cover price of 40p with a weekday pagination of 48 and 80 pages on a Sunday. However, the marketing bill would have been £10 million in the first year and Mirror group was in poor financial shape following the departure of chief executive David Montgomery a month before and a bidding war which had broken out for the group between regional newspaper groups Trinity and Regional Independent Media.

Other

Launched web portal in March 1999 as ic24 (now owned by PlusNet) with offshoots in 2000: icShowbiz; icChoice; icSport and icTravel. Also 14 regional sites. Sports sites Soccerbase (now part of Racing Post) and Cricketbase. Sells its archive of pictures and cartoons such as Andy Capp at Mirrorpix. In 1998, launched internet paper dot.com, distributed free with Wharf, a local paper for Canary Wharf, where the papers are based in London's Docklands. Live TV cable channel sold off in 1999 and some papers in Northern Ireland. In July 2006, sold trade magazines and exhibition business Inside Communications to private equity-backed Ocean Media for £41.5m