MoS scraps 'blunderbuss' Business insert deal

MoS: ‘blunderbuss approach’

A circulation deal with The Mail on Sunday which more than doubled the circulation of The Business overnight is to be scrapped.

Andrew Neil, publisher of The Business, announced the plan to give his paper away free inside The Mail on Sunday last July saying it would be a “dagger to the heart” of The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph. But this week he said the arrangement was too much of a “blunderbuss approach”.

Some 130,000 copies of The Business are currently given away free inside TheMoS in selected parts of London.

Since the deal was announced the paper’s official circulation has grown, with other giveaways, from 110,423 to 287,299.

Under the arrangement The MoS inserted The Business for free but had to pay of the insertion and promotion.

In a letter to staff this week, Neil said: “Paul Woolfenden [managing director] and I have been disappointed for some time now by the inability of TheMoS to get our paper into TheMoS copies that were reaching the right people.

“Associated [publisher of The MoS] could not give us distribution beyond some major London supermarkets – too much of a blunderbuss approach when what we had been hoping for was an Armalite that would target only the AB readership of TheMoS.”

Neil plans to compensate for the lost circulation with a new scheme to deliver the paper to more affluent homes in the capital.

He said The Business was on target to break even before the end of the year for the first time since it was launched in 1998.

MoS managing director Stephen Miron denied that the decision to scrap the deal with The Business was because its owners, the Barclay brothers, were trying to buy The Daily Telegraph. Associated is known to be keen to buy the Telegraph Group.

He said that since taking over as managing director in October he had decided the cost of distributing The Business was not delivering the required benefits.

By Dominic Ponsford

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