Pile of paper

Local World said that there will be 'a lot more online activity' which will 'spill into print and that will help to make those papers even more exciting to read'

Credit: Digitzedchaos on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

New local media business Local World, which consists of the newspapers and websites of Iliffe News & Media and Northcliffe Media, was today confirmed.

In a release the company, which has investment of £10 million, said it "intends to transform regional publishing to create a one-stop shop for local content".

Following the sale of Iliffe News & Media and Northcliffe Media to Local World, the new local media business has a product portfolio of 16 daily titles, 36 paid-for weekly titles, two Metro franchises as well as "a number of niche products including magazines".

It has also taken on 63 local portal websites.

Local World has pledged to place an "increased focus" on digital distribution, "with editorial resources devoted to increasing online traffic".

It has set a target of more than doubling digital revenues to represent 20 per cent of the company's total.

"Local World is committed to accelerating digital audience growth with the provision of rich online content," it said in a release.

In a conference call with the press, the company added that "there will be a lot more online activity" which will also "spill into print and that will help to make those papers even more exciting to read".

Chief executive of Northcliffe Media Steve Auckland, who is to become the chief executive of Local World, added that the company aims "to reshape this industry and we will be focusing on local content, local sales and local management".

The company will be led by David Montgomery, former chief executive of Mecom. He said in the conference call that he has "had a vision for some time" that the newspaper industry in the UK "needed to be resuscitated in a way that would equip them for the future".

The bringing together of Northcliffe and Iliffe News & Media signals the "starting point of Local World", he added.

"We believe enthusiastically about the future of local content".

"We haven't lost faith in print, anything but that. I believe all the titles in the combined stable will survive for generations to come."

Shareholders in the company have been announced as investment fund Artefact Group, said to be "associated with Lord Ashcroft", DMGT, Odey Asset Management, Trinity Mirror and Yattendon Group.

In a press release
confirming the sale, DMGT, which is to sell  Northcliffe Media, said it "will receive consideration of £52.5m in cash and a 38.7 per cent shareholding in Local World".

When asked in today's conference call if any newspapers will be closed, Local World added that it does not "envisage that at this stage".

Bosses added that "jobs are going to change fairly dramatically in this industry", and that the "essence of Local World will be that responsibility will be devolved to individuals at the local level", and that there will be "a reorganisation to facilitate that".

The company said it could not say whether jobs a specific local centres would be affected. The company added that it has provided investment for training and restructure.

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