Virtual Theft
The strain of blogging

New freesheet merger confirms new strategy

For Danish freesheet 24timer, the key to winning the freesheet war is more local content and less door-to-door distribution.

Or so it seems. 24timer has just masterminded yet another 'merger' with a local freesheet, this time Fyns Stiftstidende's Xtra, securing another local version of its national freesheet. 24timer Xtra will hit the streets 8 August with a circulation of 32,000. Xtra will supply the local coverage, 24timer the national, and the merged freesheet will be distributed at traffic hotspots only.

The merger follows similar deals with Nordjyske's Centrum Morgen and Centrum Aften, and JP Århus. With these moves, 24timer, seems to strike out a very different course from its main competitor, Icelandic Nyhedsavisen.

It was the Icelandic pledge to launch a Danish version of the highly successful Frettabladid, a door-to-door distributed 'quality freesheet', that forced the Danish freesheet war in the first place. But door-to-door distribution has proved difficult and inefficient in Denmark: the distribution form was blamed for the failure of Montgomery-owned freesheet Dato, and these days both Nyhedsavisen and 24timer distribute some of their freesheets via traffic hotspots.


Kristine, I'm not seeing a similar freesheet movement here on the other side of the pond. If it isn't door-to-door, is it mostly a public transportation thing? (Steve Boriss,

I think door-to-door freesheets are pretty rare. When I've talked to the 'company' behind Nyhedsavisen, Dagsburn/Baugur (formally the former, the latter provides the funds) their theory has been that it works on Iceland because it's a small country where most people drive to work rather than use public transport - and will work in similar countries. Now, Denmark was the first country after Iceland where they tested this theory, and it didn't work that well - due high distribution costs and the difficulty of getting access to apartmentblocks in the cities.

So it's worth noting that their second freesheet launch, this one on your side of the pond, BostonNOW, is traffic-distributed.

We have and have had door-to-door dist. freesheets in Norway too. The first, Avis1, folded, but Mr. Montgomery, the former Mirror-boss I've been writing quite a bit about, is currently in this market in Norway.

I don't know if you've come across this blog before, but it provides a lot of news about US freesheets:

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