Internet thieves beware
Our Man in Hell

The future may be free, but is it on paper?

I found this picture from Piet Bakker's Newspaper Innovation blog (via Nigel Barlow) quite compelling. Free newspapers are currently published in 50 countries, totalling 40 million copies daily, read by at least 70 million people. Piet looks at worldwide trends for 2007 here, and for Europe here.

Metro11_2

However, the price of a 'free future' can be staggering. The latest estimated figures from the Danish freesheet war make for grim reading, and even 'mature' products, such as the US papers of freesheet pioneer Metro International, are still in the red. Besides, these innocent-looking freebies have been blamed for causing everything from forest depletion to subway track flooding, and identified as potent carriers of epidemics such as avian flu.

But then, Norwegian media group Schibsted, who is moving towards break-even with its French and Spanish freesheets 20 Minutes, has stated on several occasions that the company is using its freehsheets primarily to lure people to its websites...

Comments

Hi,

I totally agree with you, but I might add that considering the Westminster decision last week to have editors contribute to the collection of the waste they cause, freesheets may be doomed.

Westminster, DMGT and Murdoch struck a deal where both editors will pay €150,000 a year. And that's only for the Westminster area.

If such measures were to be passed everywhere, all free newspapers would dive in the red.

Yes, there's talk about introducing similar measures in Denmark as well, and I seem to remember that the execs of the Metro system in New York called for stricter regulation of freesheet distribution when they claimed the freebies were responsible for creating the subway track flooding there.

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