Revolutionary Measures

Boris vs the free papers?

In an era of gloom for print media, free papers have been the one shining light. Metro has a daily circulation of 1.3 million – more than the Daily Mirror and well above the Star and Express. And the good news doesn’t end there as free financial paper City AM has just announced its first profit after five years of operation.

What characterises successful free papers is a combination of low overheads with small editorial teams and a strong focus on their target market. Metro is designed to be read in a tube journey, while with City AM the title sums up what it is about.

So no clouds on the horizon for free papers? Time to think again. Like every paper the biggest challenge could be technology – and specifically Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans to allow mobile phone calls on the Tube. Looking beyond the bedlam it creates, it should make it easy for smartphone/iPad owners to easily access the web and read the content they want (rather than being forced to consume 60 Second interviews with a C-list celebrity). And turning the page in a crowded Underground carriage is easier on an iPhone. Of course not everyone will replace newsprint with a screen, but a recent survey from Orange found that smartphone users were reading more content online rather than buying print versions of newspapers. So, in a few years time, if the Tube is internet-connected the free paper market could be very different indeed…….

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October 6, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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