The publisher of the Daily Mail has abandoned a national newspaper project to pool advertising resources.
Project Rio, formerly known as Project Juno, still involves the publishers of the Guardian, Sun and Daily Express among others.
But Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) is now out, with the publisher said to hold concerns around legal obstacles and costs.
A Project Rio spokesman said:
The project companies remain committed to finding greater scale for advertisers through our digital and print channels.
While we are disappointed that DMG have withdrawn from the next phase of the project, they will be kept abreast of developments should they wish to rejoin at a later date.
DMGT’s departure, which was first reported by advertising magazine Campaign, leaves Guardian Media Group, News UK, Express Newspapers, Trinity Mirror and Telegraph Media Group alone working on the tie-up.
The project was launched last year as newspaper publishers reported large falls in advertising revenue, with online growth failing to offset print decline.
A DMGT spokesperson said:
DMG Media has a number of its own broader commercial priorities to pursue in 2017 including initiatives related to its international media businesses and its data-driven programmatic solutions but it remains committed to working closely with its fellow UK news media publishers on a number of important shared priorities...
Although not participating at this time, dmg media wishes its industry partners well and remains supportive of their ongoing efforts.