News International has registered the names of at least 10 potential UK city newspapers along with thelondonpaper, its new afternoon free launched in the capital last month.
Press Gazette has learnt that thebirminghampaper, thebristolpaper, themanchesterpaper, thehullpaper, theleedspaper, theyorkpaper, theedinburghpaper, theglasgowpaper, thecardiffpaper and theliverpoolpaper have been bought as internet domain names by the company. All have been registered as .com and.co.uk domains.
It has also emerged that thenewyorkpaper has been registered by NI.
An NI spokeswoman refused to say if the registration was an attempt to stop other newspaper groups taking the domain names or if the company was planning to launch titles in the cities.
She said: “We registered a lot of names when we registered thelondonpaper, and the only thing we’re saying is that we’re 100 per cent focused on thelondonpaper for the foreseeable future.”
None of the names involving other cities have yet been registered as trademarks, although thelondonpaper was registered in April. Associated Newspapers did not register London Lite as a trademark until August.
On Monday, Network Rail said it is about to announce the winner of the bidding process to distribute a London afternoon newspaper inside 10 central London mainline train stations.
A spokesman for Transport for London, which runs Tube and bus services in the capital, said they were working towards a final decision by the end of the year.
Associated Newspapers’ morning title Metro is currently available from bins in mainline and underground stations around London.
London’s free morning business title City AM is given out by hand distributors and is available from distribution bins outside stations and private companies.
Last month, Associated Newspapers launched its afternoon free London Lite.
Original bidders for the right to distribute in Tube and mainline stations, were thought to include Guardian Newspapers, Express Newspapers, News International and Associated Newspapers.
This week, TfL also issued a warning to distributors of all free newspaper titles in the city to stop dumping copies on buses.
A TfL spokesman said: “Transport for London has written to the distribution managers for the London freesheets to remind them that they should not be distributing copies anywhere on TfL property, which does include Tube stations and bus stations, nor should they be leaving copies on buses themselves. We’ve also been in contact with our bus operating companies to reiterate that’s the case.”
Associated Newspapers said it had made clear to London Lite merchandisers that they were not authorised to leave copies of the paper on buses. NI said distributing thelondonpaper on buses was not being done with its approval.
In February, the New York Sun reported that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said free newspapers added about 15 tons of rubbish per day to the subway system.