The Metro war in Manchester is set to extend to more cities,
bringing in other regional publishers and pitching national newspapers
against each other in local turf wars.
The Newcastle Chronicle & Journal and Swedish publisher Modern Times
will go head-to-head in the North-east in the new year, but a bigger
battle is looming in Glasgow.
It now appears that Associated Newspapers intended to launch a Scottish
edition in Glasgow but diverted its attentions to Manchester when it
heard about the launch of the Guardian Media Group’s Manchester Metro
News. But the Glasgow plan looks certain to be dusted off once the
Manchester situation settles down.
This would pitch Associated against Trinity Mirror which owns the Daily
Record, Sunday Mail and a raft of local weeklies. Speculation is that
such a move would provoke Trinity Mirror into retaliating with a
Mirror-produced rival to Metro in London.
Associated has identified Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and York as other
cities on its launch list. A move into Birmingham, where Trinity Mirror
owns the Birmingham Post and Mail, would be similarly provocative.
Regional Independent Media would undoubtedly defend its dominant
position in Yorkshire.
Both Trinity Mirror and Newsquest are monitoring the Manchester
situation closely to see if Associated’s Metro North West expands into
neighbouring territories in Lancashire.
Thinly veiled threats are being made that if Associated oversteps the
mark, regional newspapers, especially those owned by nationals, will
join together and retaliate against the Daily Mail.
Guardian Media Group’s chief executive Ian Ashcroft said: ’The Mail has
a very home counties image and is quite vulnerable in the regions. This
is something that the regionals could exploit.’
Metro deputy managing director Mike Anderson said of his Manchester
rivals: ’They don’t understand. This is a whole new audience.’
See opinion, p12.