Birmingham Post ‘Lite’ will fight free rival

TRINITY MIRROR is to launch the ‘Birmingham Post Lite’, a free version of its flagship title to combat the Birmingham Press, a new rival to be published by newspaper entrepreneur Chris Bullivant.

The title will be launched next Thursday (April 22), the day before the proposed Bullivant launch, and is intended to go head-to-head with the Press in the battle to secure advertising from the city’s mid-market estate agents. It will be distributed to 18,000 homes in upscale areas such as Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Harborne and Moseley. The Bullivant title is targeting the same areas with 25,000 free copies, plus 5,000 for sale in outlets as far away as Stratford and Warwick.

The Birmingham Post Lite will appear on the same day as BPM Media’s paid-for Birmingham Post, which ceased daily publishing last year, and it is believed it will contain similar content to its sister title.

The Birmingham Press will have three editions, one each for Solihull, Sutton and Birmingham, and will firmly target  a middle class readership through a “broad mix of news and a core of hefty feature content,” according to editor Tony Lennox.

But the key to victory in Birmingham’s new newspaper war is the support of the city’s estate agents, one of whom told that he believed the Post had become complacent in its dealings with advertisers, and the property community was ‘excited’ by Bullivant’s Birmingham Press.

Philip Jackson of Birmingham estate agents Maguire Jackson, said: “The Bullivant offer is certainly more exciting, because of the level of support for it amongst major estate agents in the city. Bullivant has proven himself in other markets. For some time what has been available in the Birmingham market hasn’t been that good. If you have a mid-priced house of around £250-600k there’s not a good medium in the city to advertise it in.”

The Birmingham Mail was looking increasingly downmarket and dominated by one agent, he said, while the Birmingham Post catered for exclusive properties beyond the reach of middle-class Brummies.

He said: “The Post has got terribly complacent at least for its advertiser base, and at first glance the Birmingham Post Lite looks like a knee-jerk reaction.”

Trinity Mirror refused to comment today but earlier this week it confirmed it was closing the monthly Living magazine, a glossy lifestyle title which was inserted into the Birmingham Post. Staff and resources were to be redeployed to work on a response to the Bullivant launch, BPM Media managing director John Griffith said.

He told “We want to be ready to make the right tactical response and we’re certainly not dismissing Chris Bullivant’s new venture. We welcome competition – it’s good to look at the things you’ve been doing and ask if they can be done better when a competitor comes along.”

  • Declaration: the author of this article is a former editor of the Birmingham Post