Metro war kicks off in Manchester

An old-fashioned newspaper war broke out on the streets of Manchester on Friday with the launch of two rival free morning newspapers, both called Metro.

An old-fashioned newspaper war broke out on the streets of

Manchester on Friday with the launch of two rival free morning

newspapers, both called Metro.



Manchester Metro News from Guardian Media Group and Metro North West

from Associated Newspapers were rushed out with little advanced planning

in a battle to be first in the market.



Associated bussed in hundreds of people from London and senior directors

from both companies were on the streets handing newspapers to the

bemused populace.



Meanwhile, Swedish publisher Modern Times, which pioneered the free

Metro strategy, still covets a move into Manchester and all three

publishers are negotiating with the city’s fragmented transport network

for exclusive distribution rights.



Manchester Metro News, a 32-page colour tabloid, is produced by the

Manchester Evening News team. Friday’s distribution of 25,000 is to be

upped to 50,000 this week.



Advertising will also be sold by the MEN, initially as a package with

the evening title. GMG regional newspapers chief executive Ian Ashcroft

said: ’We haven’t got a ratecard yet. It will depend on demand.

Eventually, we will do readership profiling and have a solid base to

pitch a cost per thousand.’



Metro North West is a localised variant on its London edition but its

title suggests it will also be pitched against Trinity Mirror in

Liverpool and Newsquest in Preston, Bolton and Blackburn.



Ashcroft revealed that GMG had planned to launch in January with a pilot

edition hitting the streets this Wednesday. But he advanced his plans

when, last Wednesday, he heard that Associated intended to bring out its

paper a day earlier. In turn, Associated brought forward its plans to

last Friday.



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