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Rupert Mudroch seeks permission to merge ‘Times’ and ‘Sunday Times’

Rupert Murdoch has written to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), seeking permission from Government to share resources, including journalists, between his leading publications – ‘Times’ and ‘Sunday Times’.

The application includes the number of factors affecting the industry, including the fall in circulation as readers shift online. The move will enable the publications to withstand the ongoing disruption that has affected the media industry in the digital age. Together, these publications employ 505 employees.

As of now, the DCMS is seeking public views on whether the changes are warranted. The comments are invited till February 11, 2019 latest by 5:00 p.m.

Besides, DCMS has also received a letter from 6 Independent National Directors who supervise the editorial independence of these publications. The Directors have expressed their willingness for shared resources as they foresee a negative impact on the business, owing to the increasing shift of readers to digital versions.

‘Times’ had a daily paid print circulation of about 421,000, and paid digital subscribers of approximately 231,000, as of October 2018. As regards ‘Sunday Times’ it had an average paid print circulation of about 723,000 and paid digital subscribers of approximately 254,000, during the same period.

For the records, Murdoch provided a legally binding guarantee to preserve the editorial of these publications independent, at the time of buying them without undergoing a competition inquiry.

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