Express Group

Express Group
   Founded in 1900 to compete with the Daily Mail, the Daily Express became, between the two World Wars, a particularly influential popular newspaper that aggressively sought increased circulation. Under the leadership of the Canadian Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, who became figuratively and literally a press baron and set out to influence contemporary events, it served the Conservative Party cause and promoted the values of the Empire. The paper’s assertive self-confidence was given architectural expression in 1931 when its new offices in Fleet Street were built to what were regarded as daringly modern designs by Ellis and Clarke. Though the Express (as it is now called) is no longer the force that it was, it continues to occupy a significant place in what it argues is the ‘middle’, as opposed to the ‘popular’ segment of the market, a significant distinction for advertisers as well as editors. Respect for the readership is revealed in a layout which, though tabloid in format, tends to devote an entire page (apart from advertisements) to treating each story at some length in a style more restrained than that of, say, the Sun. Published now from Blackfriars and printed in Dockland, the Express currently sells about 1.2 million copies a day, or 8 percent of national daily paper sales. In the ‘middle’ sector, amounting to less than 25 percent of the total, it comes a poor second to its only middle-market rival, the Mail, which has nearly twice its circulation. Allowance must however be made for the half a million copies of the Daily Star, launched in 1978 as a ‘popular’ stablemate of the Express. Founded in 1918, the Express on Sunday, now with its magazine Boulevard, sells nearly as well as the daily paper; the Mail on Sunday, however, is nearly twice as popular and appears to be winning more readers. Claiming in all 14 percent of the national market, the Express Group’s recent corporate history has been complicated; since 1996 it has been owned by United News & Media, a company with wide interests in television and which also controls the Yorkshire Post and the Lancashire Evening Post under the umbrella of United Provincial Newspapers, reportedly up for sale in the spring of 1998. The chief executive of United News & Media is Lord Hollick, a life peer expected by many to reorient the Express Group away from the right wing while endeavouring to reverse falling circulation in a shrinking market.

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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