Monday, September 04, 2006

Lively, breezy news for Londoners

Copies of Rupert Murdoch’s thelondonpaper being are now handed out free of charge to our capital’s commuters, a week after the launch of Associated Newspapers’ London Lite freebie. The
BBC News Magazine website
asks if all newspapers in the future will be free.

The article covers topics that are already raised in this blog: the potential ‘market’ of young people who don’t read news papers but get their fix of news online; and predictions of the death of newspapers altogether.

It also raises what should be an obvious but nevertheless important point about producing newspapers on the cheap to get people into the ‘newspaper consumption’ habit, ready to be targeted by advertisers. The article cites Roy Greenslade:
Ultimately they will breed in people the idea that news shouldn't cost anything, even that news is cheap. But in fact, news, done well and properly, requires investment and money.

Try telling that to the market. Copies of the latest free newspapers to hit London have yet to found their way to my quiet little backwater in the Provinces, so I can’t yet comment on whether ‘free’ news in these publications is news worth reading. The Press Gazette announced last month that thelondonpaper was planning to take on some reasonably heavyweight journalists – an attempt presumably by News International to establish it as a ‘serious’ rival to the ominously named London Lite. Head of Associated Newspapers’ Free Newspaper Division, Steve Auckland
is reported
as saying:
We are convinced that its lively, breezy format will be very attractive to advertisers and to a large audience of young Londoners, who have given up on newspapers such as The Sun.

News International didn’t want to hang around to let Associated Newspapers establish a strong foothold. The launch date of the londonpaper was brought forward from September 18th.

I wonder which newspaper will be the first to pay people money to read it.

Filed under:
thelondonpaper London Lite News International Associated Newspapers
free newspapers advertising Press Gazette


Pete Wilby said...

For the archive - a lengthy reflection by the Guardian from all angles - including that of the lowly newspaper vendor in the streets of London. (You need to be a registered Media Guardian reader to get access)

Pete Wilby said...

The Press Gazette now reports the sale of a range of domain names apparently for regional versions of thelondonpaper. Alternatively, a shrewd investor has taken over the and com names to sell onto Rupert Murdoch at a profit.