Monday, August 07, 2006

NY Times: Free dailies growing in Europe

The growth of free daily newspapers in Europe has drawn the attention of the New York Times, which reports that so-called free sheets now account for more than half of all papers circulated in Spain and more than 30 percent of those in Portugal, Denmark and Switzerland. The news peg for this story is that News Corp., publisher of London's Sun and Times, confirmed plans to start a free newspaper in Britain next month, and that Le Monde and Le Figaro in France are said to be working on free newspapers as well. The story also notes that in Germany, where there has been the most resistance to the free daiy trend, a free financial tabloid is set to start next Monday.

The NY Times says, "While established publishers have been dabbling with free papers for some time, the latest start-ups represent a new stage in the development of the market, said Aura Iordan, business analyst at the newspaper association. The publishers had started free sheets primarily for defensive reasons, to fend off the threat from the likes of Metro. But now, she said, they view free dailies as a possible source of profit."