LONDON, No stranger to wars of attrition – of which he is invariably the winner – Rupert Murdoch bore a loss of £17 million ($33.8m; €21.3m) in the first ten months of The London Paper, a freesheet daily launched in September 2006 to do battle with Associated Newspapers' rival London Lite.

Locked horn-to-horn in a contest for the eyeballs of London's commuters, the irresistible force of Clan Murdoch has met the immovable object of patrician rival media dynasty Rothermere, headed by the Viscount of that ilk, Jonathan Harmsworth.

London Lite is determined to outspend the upstart from Oz, although its paid-for London title the Evening Standard is the battle's main casualty.

Opines Numis Securities' media analyst Paul Richards: "[Rothermere] was the incumbent in the London market [with] the Evening Standard. It will do everything it can to protect itself in that market - there's no question of [it] withdrawing."

Hedging his bets, the haruspex added: "News International has very deep pockets and will take a very long term view.

"It will look at a whole range of strategic objectives, and if to achieve those objectives it runs the London Paper at a loss, then so be it."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff