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The great freesheet war – one year on

Last week, to the day, marked the one year anniversary for Nyhedsavisen, the Icelandic-owned freesheet that triggered the once so crowded Danish freehsheet war.

Modelled on the highly successful Frettabladid, it was always the explicit ambition of the paper's backers to take on Denmark's paid-for titles rather than other freesheets - an ambition that is turning the Danish media landscape upside down.

Beating the paid-for titles
Despite all the things that's gone awry for the Icelanders – such as the delayed launch, distribution problems and poor ad revenues – Nyhedsavisen can now boast more readers than well-established paid-for titles such as Berlingske and Politiken, and more than tabloids B.T and Extrabladet.

A quick peek at the latest readership figures reveals that Nyhedsavisen is the country's third most read paper, after JP/Politiken's freesheet 24timer (launched just ahead of what should have been Nyhedsavisen's lauch date in August 2006), and MetroXpress, the well-established traffic distributed freesheet.

Younger readers opt for free news
In other words, the three most read freesheets newspapers in Denmark today are all freesheets, and a recent survey suggests younger readers (20 – 34) prefer the free to the paid-for titles.

In fact, the target group for Mecom-owned Berlingske Tidende, Denmark's oldest paid-for title, is 30+. "It is a strategic challenge to get hold of young readers," Peter Lindegaard, Berlingske Tidende's MD, told Berlingske. He said targeting the 30+ segment was a way to prioritise limited marketing resources.

Readership surveys suggest young Danes prefer to get their news online, or if, on paper, they won't pay for it. Lindegaard's opponent over at JP/Politiken, Lasse Munch, told Berlingske that this is a result of changing media habits, and his company's solution was not to try to change these habits, but to be where young people are.

Free is costly
In this respect, it might be of some comfort to JP/Politiken that they also hold the poll position in Denmark's freesheet market with 24timer.

But it's a poor comfort for those journalists at Politiken, one of the company's two flagship paid-for titles, who will loose their jobs as the paper struggles to save money to compensate for the losses 24timer is inflicting on JP/Politiken.

More to follow


"In other words, the three most read freesheets in Denmark today are all freesheets,"

Err ... bet they are.

"Three most read papers"?

I do it all the time.

Good article though - nobody else tells me about Danish papers.


Ha, ha.. Many thanks for pointing that out, Matt. How did I not see that? Will amend. By the way, I owe you an email, been too busy to do much with it...

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