Daily Sport puts on a brave Front as circulation suffers

The publisher of the Daily Sport is looking at ways of sharing content between the relaunched tabloid and its newly acquired monthly men’s magazine, Front.

Sport Media Group announced that it was buying Front for £265,000 last week, on the same day that it described the relaunch sales of the Daily Sport as ‘disappointing”.

National newspaper ABC figures for May revealed that the Daily Sport had wiped 10.5 per cent from its average daily circulation since its relaunch at the end of April – down from 95,000 to 85,000.

Sport Media Group chief executive Andrew Fickling said the acquisition of Front would benefit the Manchester-based newspaper publisher by giving it access to a team of London journalists and salespeople.

Despite the geographical divide, he said it was ‘only common sense’that journalists on the Daily Sport and Front would work together and share resources.

‘If you have two publishing operations and there are areas where a lot of the content is similar, you are going to be looking at ways where both sides can help each other,’Fickling said.

‘We can share content, and obviously there are financial benefits in doing that as well.”

The Daily Sport revamp was overseen by Sport Media Group editor-in-chief and Zoo founder Barry McIlheney, working with editorial consultant James Brown, the founder of Loaded.

In a bid to lure mainstream advertisers the paper’s adult classified ads have been moved to a standalone supplement, while editorial content has been targeted at a younger, lads’ mag-reading audience.

‘We were fairly clear that by having such a radical change to the title in terms of the look and the content that we were going to lose some readers,’Fickling said.

‘You can’t be all things to all men. It’s very easy to look at one ABC figure, but it was never a six-week project. We’re trying to reposition a product – it’s going to take time.”

Fickling said Sport Media Group had set a circulation target of between 100,000 and 110,000 for the paper, and that there were early signs that sales were beginning to pick up after the initial drop.

‘The shock factor has resulted in a dip, but we are quite confident that we’ve hit the bottom of that and have started to come out of it,’he added.

Front magazine, which is not currently ABC audited, claims a monthly circulation of around 40,000. Fickling hinted that the title – which James Brown recommended to the Sport Media Group board – could be the first in a string of similar acquisitions.

‘There’s a little bit of common sense involved in it,’he said.

‘Titles that appeal to a similar market [to the Daily Sport] will be the ones that we will look at first.”

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