Reach Printing Services wins Metro contract

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Thursday 13 September 2018

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Reach Printing Services has signed a contract to print a number of the Metro titles being published directly by DMG Media.

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The London edition of The Metro had a circulation of 873,776 in August

This includes “a substantial quantity” of The Metro London, together with an extension to the contract to print the East Midlands, Cardiff and Bristol Metro titles.

The London edition of the title was previously printed by News UK's print arm Newsprinters. The printing of these copies will transfer to Reach’s Westferry Printers and DMG Media's Harmsworth Printing plant in Thurrock from issues dated 8 October.

The London edition had a circulation of 873,776 in August 2018, according to the latest ABC figures, down 2% month-on-month but flat year-on-year.

Reach Printing Services managing director John Brewis said: “The new contract builds on our long-term relationship with DMG Media and we are extremely proud that we've been able to secure these titles into our newly expanded network. This builds on our reputation and past performance and, as such, is a reflection of the effort and skills of everyone involved.”

DMG Media group production director Julia Palmer-Poucher added: “We thank Newsprinters for six successful years printing Metro, London. Newsprinters remains a strategic printing partner as we continue to print copies of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and Metro regional titles across its print sites.”

Separately, Reach has entered into consultation with staff affected by proposed changes to the editorial structure of its national newspapers, which will result in a reduction of up to 70 full-time and part-time positions and see an unspecified number of editorial long-term casual roles converted into staff positions.

The publisher is aiming to create synergies and “remove duplication of effort” across its Mirror, Express and Star operations.

Editorial initiatives include an “internal content feed” serving all titles to provide shared coverage of non-exclusive events of the day and back-of-the-book content like book and film reviews.

The company also plans to introduce more collaborative working between the Daily Express and Sunday Express and between the Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday editorial teams.

A Reach spokesperson said: “Our sports desks have been collaborating very effectively in recent weeks, which gives us confidence that our plans to share other content will work well. The crossover readership between the titles is very low.

“The aim is to retain as much resource as possible in areas such as politics, exclusive story-breaking, investigations and columnists, which differentiate each of our titles and give them their distinctive character.

“We will be making every effort to achieve as much of the required savings as we can through voluntary means.”

Reach, which has recently rebranded from Trinity Mirror, has also proposed to close its weekly celebrity magazine Star and a 45-day consultation period with staff is underway.

Alongside OK! and New!, Star was one of three celebrity magazines included in the publisher’s near-£200m acquisition of Northern & Shell’s publishing assets in February.

The title had a circulation of 94,291 in the first six months of 2018 – down 13% year-on-year. At its peak – in the second half of 2009 – it had a circulation of 492,067.

In July Reach reported it had made a £113.5m half-year statutory pre-tax loss in the first six months of 2018 after taking a £150m charge on a “more challenging than expected outlook” for its regional businesses.

The company said it was on track to deliver the cost savings of £20m it expected from integrating the Northern & Shell assets and expects to deliver savings of £18m for the full year, £3m ahead of its target of £15m.

Reach’s share price remained at 71.2p in early trading but stood at 68.9p at the time of writing.

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