Express Newspapers axes jobs to merge titles

Express Newspapers has unveiled a radical set of changes, spearheaded by a merger between the Daily and Sunday Express, which will result in the loss of 85 editorial jobs.

The scope of the changes has taken media buyers by surprise and has been viewed as a make-or-break move for the titles in their battle against the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

The Daily Express editor, Richard Addis, becomes the editor of both titles. The Sunday Express editor, Sue Douglas, is in talks about a compensation package worth in the region of pounds 400,000.

As part of the changes, the Express will launch a seven-day, 20- to 32- page sports tabloid on Monday. In addition, the Daily Express’s colour capacity will double during the week from 16 to 32 pages.

Further developments include the launch of a 100-page Saturday magazine, which will be a cross between the Radio Times, a traditional supplement and a women’s title, on 28 September. It will be followed shortly afterwards by a new Sunday Express review magazine.

Stephen Grabiner, chief executive of United Newspapers, said: ‘These are the changes we have been working on and we are investing heavily. It’s a clear sign which says that United Newspapers is here to stay in this

market.’

But Grabiner stressed that the move was editorially driven: ‘We are investing hugely in pagination. We are not looking to increase the volume of advertising. We want our readership to go up and research shows us that this is the way forward.’

Greg Grimmer, the press director at CIA Medianetwork, commented: ‘It is more than a face-lift - it is a full-blown revamp of the Express’s offering.’

The Media Business’s group director, Steve Goodman, admitted that the

changes could get the Express back on to some media schedules. ‘At the moment, if it is a choice between one or the other, it is the Mail that wins. These changes could make a difference.’

But it is only when we start seeing circulation increases that it will bring in more clients.’

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