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Industry's 'G7' in media merger rules call

The group of seven leading regional publishers lobbying the Government over media ownership rules has submitted a 108-page document in support of its case.

But the report, entitled The Case for Modernising the Approach to Local Media Mergers, will not be made public due to the “commercial sensitivity” of its data.

It argues that the economies of scale available from further industry consolidation will help publishers survive the downturn and reposition their businesses for future growth.

The Alliance is made up of publishing groups Archant, DC Thomson, Guardian Media Group, Johnston Press, Newsquest, Northcliffe Media and Trinity Mirror, along with the Newspaper Society.

A press statement issued this afternoon states: “Further consolidation would enable publishers to make necessary investments in media services and content, product quality, digital platforms and training, allowing them to capture economies of scale in relation to management, distribution networks, printing and more efficient sales structures while repositioning their businesses for growth.

“The creation of publishing organisations with a clear focus on local media and with greater local scale (‘clusters’) are the most effective way to protect the viability of local titles and maintain plurality of editorial voice.”

The document was submitted to the Office of Fair Trading yesterday as part of its review of the merger regime ordered in the wake of the Government’s Digital Britain report.

Rival submissions have come from the National Union of Journalists and the Observer Standard Group, both of which oppose relaxing the merger rules.