The Scotsman newspaper is to launch a London edition just months
after Andrew Neil, the former editor of the Sunday Times, joined the
title as editor-in-chief.
The move, which comes only weeks before the general election, is part of
the Edinburgh-based paper’s bid to place Scotland and the issue of
devolution firmly on the agenda south of the border.
The historic decision signals a major offensive against the Scotsman’s
English rivals, which have put the title under increasing circulation
pressure at home. In particular, the Daily Mail’s Scottish circulation
has grown from next to nothing to close to 120,000 over the past two
However, the Scotsman’s circulation has held up reasonably well. The ABC
figure for July to December, due out next week, will show sales up
fractionally year on year at 77,057. This compares with 76,961 for the
same period the previous year, although it is down on the 77,663 average
sales recorded for the first half of 1996.
Press buyers in London were dismissive. Greg Grimmer, board account
director at CIA Medianetwork, said: ’The major city in Scotland is
Glasgow; the Scotsman has not conquered that yet, maybe it should
concentrate on there before London.’
Bert Hardy, chief executive of the Scotsman, said: ’It will be a slow
start. I don’t think we are going to be putting any of the nationals out
of business. I hope that we would be selling around 8,000 copies by the
end of the first year.’