Indy launches media attack on Guardian

Kelner feels Monday is a day when The Independent needs an extra section to build on the increase in readership begun by the introduction of the tabloid format

 

The Independent has launched a major bid to take readers and advertising from The Guardian by introducing a 24-page media supplement from Monday.

The new section goes up against Media Guardian which, since 1987, has been a recruitment advertising cash cow for the paper and provided a boost to the traditionally weak Monday sale.

The move comes after a year in which The Independent has made inroads on The Guardian’s readership since moving to tabloid format. While it has gone from 218,567 to 262,588, The Guardian has dropped from 394,304 to 364,504.

New signings for the section include former BBC director general Greg Dyke to write a regular column on TV, former Guardian writer Matthew Norman to compile a media diary and Mark Wnek to write on advertising. Ex-Times media editor Ray Snoddy will contribute a big interview every week.

Independent editor Simon Kelner said: “We decided to do it because all the research we’ve done shows that the media is a very big area of interest for our readers.”

He added that he intended for the new section to carry recruitment advertising, but that it was important for it to become established editorially first.

Kelner said: “Monday is a day where we felt we needed an extra section to beef up the paper and The Guardian has established Monday as a media day. I don’t have any concerns about going head to head with it.

“We are going to cover every aspect of the media in its broadest sense – everything from the national and regional press to PR and marketing. I think The Guardian is a strong product and we are going to compete with it.”

The Independent previously published its media section on a Tuesday on up to four tabloid pages. The Guardian’s media pullout normally runs to around 44 pages, with advertising, and has gone above 100.

Media Guardian editor-in-chief Janine Gibson was media editor on The Independent in 1998 when the paper extended its media section to 10 pages for several months.

She said: “Media Guardian has a 20-year head start on this new section and don’t forget they’ve tried this before.” Gibson said it was “almost impossible to grow a new advertising market”, pointing out that there was a “virtuous circle” between readership and recruitment.

She added: “You can’t underestimate the desire of media owners to have their own media section – but I think 24 pages will be challenging for them to sustain on what is a fairly small industry.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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