Former Sunday Mirror showbiz editor Ben Todd has accused Trinity Mirror’s “money men” of giving up on the battle of the redtops.
Todd, the recently appointed editor of weekly lads’ mag Zoo, said he had been employed to fight a “tabloid” battle with IPC weekly rival Nuts, and that the pressure for sales was even more obvious in magazines than in the tabloids.
He said: “You did get the impression – certainly at the Sunday Mirror – that Trinity Mirror were cutting back a lot and they were stopping trying to compete at times with News of the World. Not the editor, Tina [Weaver], but the upper echelons – the money men.
“It was the same with the Daily Mirror versus The Sun. I think they were saying: ‘We’ll never beat them, we’ll just keep making money until the money pot runs out and it stops making money’.”
Todd was assistant editor (showbiz) at the Sunday Mirror for three and a half years before he made the move to Zoo.
He said: “What’s been really interesting to me is how far ahead Zoo were than the Sunday Mirror or the Mirror Group in terms of their thinking and their branding. I don’t know why that’s the case – maybe it’s the traditional reason of concentrating on the scoop of newspapers that it’s come to them very late, the realisation that the newspaper brand is hugely important.”
The latest in a long line of tabloid journalists reeled in by Emap, Todd said he was amazed at how a magazine almost a hundred years younger than the Mirror could be ahead in asserting itself as a brand.
“One of the main differences between newspapers and magazines that hit me on day one is that it’s more than a magazine, it’s the whole shebang. Considering Zoo is three years old and the Mirror Group is 100 years plus, it amazed me that Zoo seemed to be more aware of the importance of their brand.
“I’m not talking about editorial – I’m not talking about Tina or Richard [Wallace] – I’m talking about the money men, who haven’t realised the value of the brand.”