Sun and Daily Mail publishers propose combining newspaper printing operations

(PA) (PA)

Two of the UK’s biggest newspaper publishers have proposed combining their printing operations amid a climate of declining print sales.

In a press release, News UK and DMG Media said they believe the proposal would help improve the efficiency of their print operations and establish a sustainable business model for the future of national newspaper printing in the UK.

The companies – which publish The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mail – would create a new company (NewCo), which would run their combined print operations.

While the proposal would retain the three current printing sites used by News UK’s Newsprinters – Broxbourne, Knowlsey, and Eurocentral – it could potentially mean the closure of two of DMG Media’s sites in Thurrock and Dinnington.

The companies added that they are engaging with the relevant regulatory authorities.

Darren Barker, the managing director of News UK’s Newsprinters UK, said the joint venture was a “genuinely exciting solution”.

“Millions of newspapers are printed and distributed across the UK every day, informing and entertaining millions of their loyal readers,” he said.

“But the reality is that print readership has been in decline for some years now, and the sector has come under increasing pressure to better align capacity with demand.

“I believe this joint venture is a genuinely exciting solution which sets out a long-term sustainable future for the newspaper printing industry, clients and the national daily newspaper ecosystem in the UK.”

DMG Media group production director Julia Palmer-Poucher said: “The news industry has transformed and continues to change rapidly. DMG Media is at the forefront of this transformation and also remains committed to its print titles, its workforce and its readers.

“The decade-long decline in print circulation has not been matched with changes to print capacity and we must find ways to keep physical newspapers, which have an important future, commercially viable.

“This proposed combination would provide a long-term solution for the Mail print titles and a sustainable future for the newspaper printing industry.

“We are aware this will be an uncertain time for those potentially impacted and our priority is to provide staff with the support they need throughout this process.”