Archant is main backer for new Dublin tabloid

Fry: Dublin Daily is Archant’s first Irish involvement

Archant has emerged as a significant investor in the Dublin Daily, a new mid-market tabloid for the Irish capital which will launch next spring (Press Gazette, 25 October).

The Norwich-based group, which publishes newspapers, magazines and websites, is the single largest shareholder with an investment of £ 1.5m and a 20 per cent stake in the £4m launch.

The management team behind the new title last week finalised the £4m launch funding package.

Archant recently secured approval from its shareholders to increase its borrowing limit to £270m, a move that allows it to move quickly when investment opportunities arise. The company has just lost out in an attempt to buy the Herald titles in Scotland.

Archant chief executive John Fry commented: "This is an important step for Archant. It is our first involvement in Ireland and it is a market that we have been looking at for some time. We believe Dublin offers interesting opportunities that fit well with our plans to develop our community-based publishing interests."

Dublin Daily will be a 64-page, paid-for colour tabloid and the target circulation after two years is 33,000. The company will have 40 staff at launch and has started recruiting.

The editor will be former Gaelic football star Liam Hayes, who was founding editor of Ireland on Sunday. Colm Grealy, chief executive officer of the operating company Dublin Daily News, founded Ireland’s first internet service provider – Ireland On-Line – and was former chief executive of Digiserve, publisher of online.ie. Dublin Daily will benefit from services and partnerships established by Digiserve.

The company chairman is entrepreneur Paschal Taggart, the former chairman of Ireland on Sunday, whose interests include a variety of advertising and technology companies.

The new paper will focus on Dublin news, issues, entertainment and sport. Metropolitan in flavour, it is designed to appeal equally to women and men, says the company.

Fry said: "Dublin Daily is an attractive product, driven by a visionary and committed management team and produced on state-of-the-art technology that brings the cost efficiencies of internet publishing to newspapers."

Grealy said: "We are producing a newspaper with none of the legacies of our competitors: not that comparable products exist in the current market. We will take readers from some of the existing products, but we believe we will also grow the market substantially."

Hayes added: "The rationale for the launch of Dublin Daily is very clear when you consider that this is the only capital city in Europe without its own daily newspaper. Coupled with a demographic that has changed radically over the past two decades in particular, it makes absolute sense to target Dublin as a city."

By Jean Morgan

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