Business

News of the World: Rival press groups see shares rise

Shares in the UK's major newspaper groups rose following the closure of the News of the World (NoW).

Trinity Mirror, which publishes the UK's third biggest Sunday paper, the Sunday Mirror, closed up 4.17%, having jumped by 12% in early trade.

Daily Mail group, which publishes what was the NoW's main rival, the Mail on Sunday, was up 0.08%. Regional publisher Johnston Press was up 7.62%.

The News of the World had a weekly circulation of 2.6 million.

This Sunday's edition will be its last, News International's James Murdoch announced on Thursday. The group said it would open its News of the World website for free online access to the final edition.

There have been unconfirmed reports that the media group, which also owns The Times and the Sunday Times, will replace it with a Sunday edition of its successful daily The Sun.

Circulation boost?

Rivals are hoping that NoW readers - and advertisers - will switch to their papers.

The NoW's readership is way ahead of the competition, the Mail on Sunday trails its 2.6 million with 1.9 million, while the third best-selling Sunday, the Sunday Mirror, has 1.1 million readers.

But Theresa Wise, an independent media consultant, said they should not bank on seeing a circulation boost.

"In the old days, readers would shift to another paper, but these days it's likely that the reader will go from the press forever," she said.

She acknowledged that, in the short term, there were opportunities for adding readers, but only if the product was strong.

"The Sunday Mirror's success depends on it pulling off a few more scoops. One of the keys to the News of the World's success was its ability to pull out exclusives. The Mail on Sunday is good at this so the Sunday Mirror will have to up its game."

She also said that papers were unlikely to see much of a rise in advertising revenues.

"A lot [of the NoW's advertisers] are already in the main papers anyway, and advertisers are moving expenditure away from press."

Longer term, all print media are worried about survival.

Bob Parker, deputy chairman of Credit Suisse Asset Management, said that any gains by rival papers may be short-lived.

"One has to ask the question: In five years' time, will we be reading newspapers or will we just be looking at news online?"