The NFRN has hailed the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA’s) phase one inquiry into Trinity Mirror’s planned purchase of the newspaper and magazine titles published by Richard Desmond, adding that it hopes that it will shine a spotlight on some of the ills in the newspaper supply chain.
National President Linda Sood said: “We did fear some repercussions for news retailers when the takeover by Trinity Mirror was first announced and as they have become a reality we will be happy to share our concerns with the regulator.
“Firstly, we will remind the CMA that the 11 daily newspapers and nine Sunday publications that now exist are owned by just a handful of PLCs or individuals and this will be further reduced by the Mirror buyout.
“Secondly, the worst fears of independent retailers were recognised just recently when cover prices on the daily and weekend copies of both the Express and Star increased but the margins that news stockists received were slashed to bring them in line with those offered by the Mirror publications.
“Previously, retailers had enjoyed preferential margins of 24.2 per cent on both titles but these have been reduced to 22.5 per cent for weekday publications and 21 per cent for the weekend papers.”
The announcement of the CMA’s decision to launch the phase one inquiry came on the same day that the NFRN delivered a dossier of concerns regarding practices in the news supply chain to the regulator and called for an investigation into the market.
As well as the phase one inquiry into Trinity Mirror’s acquisition, culture secretary Matt Hancock is to consider whether it raises media plurality concerns under the Enterprise Act.