Mediaforce Ireland boss Malcolm Denmark purchase of the The Midland Tribune was the subject of a competition probe last year


In The Sunday Times.

John Burns wrote about British businessman Malcolm Denmark, whose company Iconic owns 22 local newspapers in Ireland, and about an investigation carried out by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

It follows reports that more than 100 of Iconic’s 149 staff members are currently laid off due to Covid-19.

Mr Burns reported:

…Born in July 1955, Denmark made his — considerable — fortune through Mediaforce Group, which was the first to put advertising leaflets in the middle of newspapers.

Set up in 2003, Mediaforce Ireland is a middleman between local newspapers and advertising agencies.

…When Denmark bought The Midland Tribune last year, the CCPC decided to take a look.

During its investigation, it identified potential competition concerns, including that Mediaforce Ireland could potentially discriminate in favour of itself “by channelling national advertising allocated to local/regional newspapers and digital newspaper titles to its own group titles, to the detriment of competitors”.

…In a submission to the CCPC, Mediaforce Ireland says it channels national ads to regional newspapers “on a strictly fair and non-discriminatory basis”. It proposes that an independent monitoring trustee be appointed to monitor compliance.

The CCPC has agreed and Brendan McCabe, a former deputy managing director of Independent News & Media, has been chosen for the role.

How Malcolm Denmark has invaded Ireland’s locals (John Burns, The Media Player, The Sunday Times)


Readers may recall how Mediaforce Ireland advised newspapers not to mark Project Ireland 2040 content as advertorial on behalf of Leo Varadkar’s now defunct Strategic Communications Unit.

Mr Varadkar set up the unit after he was elected leader of Fine Gael and became Taoiseach in 2017.

The SCU employed 15 people and was led by John Concannon, former head of Creative Ireland, until it was wound down in 2018.

Last month Mr Concannon was hired to manage the Government’s public information campaign on Covid-19.

Previously: “Part Of Our Deal Is That We Don’t Have Any Moniker Such As ‘Advertorial’”

And He Would Have Gotten Away With It Too…

Pic: Racing Post

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14 thoughts on “Local News

  1. newsjustin

    I’d take Broadsheet’s genuine scrutiny of different media more seriously if they followed up on important developments in stories they’ve covered extensively, instead of ignoring those developments that they don’t like.

  2. Pat

    Denmark is very youthful looking for a man of 65. Not a line on his face god bless him. He’s clearly led a blameless life

      1. A Person

        IMG I’m now a Young FGer? I’m so embarrassed. Are you replying in support of G’OD. That would explain everything.

  3. Porter

    John Burns hasn’t really portrayed what the CCPC do accurately. All mergers / acquisitions over a certain threshold need to be notified to the CCPC for review (although it was down substantially in 2019 to only 47). It’s not as though the CCPC intervened out of nowhere.

    Otherwise, accurate enough that there were concerns, since it was only one of 4 cases that needed additional commitments to get it over the line.

    Link here:

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