One if by land, two if online

The Times of London is going to start printing in New York, the Guardian reports. I’d heard that Times Editor Robert Thompson was in New York last week, apparenty preparing for invasion. The Guardian says:

The US launch, with an initial print run of several thousand and a sample price of $1 a copy, is likely to be seen as an attack on the Financial Times, the only British paper printed in New York.

I’ll also predict that this is the first shot in another British war to be fought here. The Guardian’s popularity and brand have grown considerably since the web … and since the Iraq war. Americans are looking for alternative views and for journalistic voices that are more transparent about their perspectives, like the British press. (Full disclosure: I write and occasionally consult for The Guardian.)

But the real battle isn’t in print at all. The Guardian quotes a senior Times exec:

The aim is to enhance its online readership as well as give the paper a US presence. “This is really an online play. There is no better billboard in America than a newsstand,” said the executive.

There you have it: Print has officially become value-added promotion to online. And online allows these brands to expand internationally without relying on the cost and limitations of print. So now the battle is on.

: Here‘s The Times’ own announcement.