See: I’m not antipaper

In London, two former execs from the Swedish Metro free paper started a daily freebie targeted at finance, and the Guardian reports that City AM will be distributing more copies than the paid circulation of the Financial Times by year end. The niche freebie strategy makes some sense. In New York, you could tackle the financial markets with geographic ease and advertisers will follow. A free sports daily would get audience; not sure about the advertising. There already are free entertainment weeklies; they used to be called alternative papers. I could see lifestyle weeklies with food, home, parenting, and other content and endemic ads. Unlike City AM, whose only digital outlet is a podcast, I’d have online, audio, and mobile components for each. And so, voila, you’ve created the custom newspaper company: take the sections you want, in the medium you want with lower physical costs and greater advertising efficiency and greater advertising revenue since the guys with the money still put more money into print. Of course, there’s no circulation revenue and, yes, these are smaller and liter and won’t support big newsrooms. But hey, don’t blame me. Blame the Swedes.

: UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter, I corrected the first sentence above; they’re not now but predict they will beat FT paid circ.

  • It makes you wonder about the failed sports-only newspaper “The National”, and if it just wasn’t ahead of it’s time.

  • How would you fancy a daily free sheet that could be distributed equally well in London, New York or Chicago – online too, naturally – identical editorial, localised ads, content provided for next to nothing from around the world, very ethical too and totally unique with a USP that knocks The Big Issue into a cocked hat?

    Titled “The Rest of the World News” it would be just that – reportage from the developing world – copy from NGOs, local journalists, travellers etc. Lotsa travel ads, alternative kind ads, ethical projects etc. PLUS you’d grab some of that Gates dosh to get it rolling – raise and profile the issues.

    What do you reckon Jeff? Know any multi millionaires who fancy backing some publishing projects?

  • For the record, Media Guardian does not report that City AM is distributing more than the FT. It says City AM executives claim they will distribute more free copies by the end of the year than the full price sales of the FT in Britain and Ireland.

    The last official audit for City AM in May was 82,459 comparied with 92,599 full price copies plus 35,498 bulks for the FT last month. World-wide the headline figure for the FT is 451,153.

    Jens Torpe, of City AM, is reported saying they will probably be at 100,000 copies by the end of the year. For a paper that is less than two-year-old City AM has established itself remarkably well.