Associated Newspapers is using its free London newspaper, Metro, as a vehicle to offer discount vouchers for sister titles the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
The vouchers, first published last week, offer 40p off Saturday’s Daily Mail, which has a cover price of 50p, and 80p off the Mail on Sunday, normally priced at 90p.
Both papers showed month-on-month declines in circulation for April and May.
Associated Newspapers has largely managed to resist price cutting in recent years, although it has occasionally used it tactically – for instance in Scotland two years ago in its battle against The Express.
Guy Zitter, managing director of the Daily Mail, denies the discount vouchers are a defensive move. “If you take each month of each year, there has been a year-on-year rise. It’s the year-on-year circulation figures that count. If you look at last year there was exactly the same pattern, but there was a jump in June and July.” He expects a similar rise this summer.
Zitter claims one of the attractions of conducting a sampling exercise through Metro is its young readership profile. “There’s an opportunity to target a lot of people who read the Metro but don’t normally read a newspaper.”