Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Will the Launch of Another Free London Newspaper Be Viable?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Will the Launch of Another Free London Newspaper Be Viable?

Article excerpt

Despite the recent closures of free commuter papers London Lite and thelondonpaper, a group of mystery investors has announced plans to enter the fray with The London Weekly next year.

MAYBE - JULIET HAYGARTH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BROTHERS AND SISTERS

I thought this was a simple question until I started to ponder the bigger issues facing content revenue models.

The US magazine industry has been brought to its knees by its enthusiastic stampede to drop, or abandon, cover prices in the belief that greater circulation and corresponding ad revenues would follow However, the ads never materialised, leading one industry mogul to announce that the US publishing model is 'dead' and in need of 'total reinvention'.

In the end, it will come down to the detail behind the commercial operation, as well as the quality of the content.

The London Weekly is planning to provide 'entertainment, light politics, music and sport', which sounds spookily similar to the now defunct London Lite and thelondonpaper.

Given that the latter made a loss of pounds 16.5m in the first year, and the new kids on the block have only pounds 10.5m squirreled away, I hope they have some innovative ideas up their sleeves.

MAYBE - MARC SANDS, FORMER MARKETING DIRECTOR, THE GUARDIAN

We have yet to experience a 'generalist' freesheet in London that actually works. The free Evening Standard may do, but it is too early too tell.

The experience of the past decade suggests that the era of 'free' to the reader, yet supported by advertising, is not sustainable. Exactly what is the gap between thelondonpaper and London Lite that The London Weekly plans to exploit, and how commercially viable is it? The aforementioned papers lost their owners a fortune.

The struggle in the next decade will be to ensure that a viable commercial price can be realised for our journalistic endeavours.

The mood of the media industry, led by News International, is to put an end to 'free'. Rupert Murdoch and his senior managers know how to run publishing businesses profitably, and the industry is following their steps very closely.

We are moving into a world where the supply of advertising inventory far exceeds the demand, and, in the end, this can only push down the price of advertising.

NO - SEAN KING, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SEVEN SQUARED

John Wayne said: 'Courage is being scared to death - and saddling up anyway. …

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