Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chicago free daily says it's in the black

This is big news, if it's true. The Chicago Tribune's free daily, RedEye, revealed in the sixth paragraph of a press release that "strong advertiser support has led RedEye to profitability in 2006." We have got to presume that's true, since RedEye is owned by the Tribune Company, a publicly held company subject to strict Sarbanes Oxley regulations regarding such statements.

RedEye is the first metro free daily to make money in the United States. Smaller market free dailies, such as those in the San Francisco Bay Area or Colorado, have been profitable for years. But of the nation's 11 metro free dailies (Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, New York (2), Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington (2)), this is the first one to go into the black.

The news was buried in a press releasethat announced RedEye was increasing its distribution by 50 percent from 100,000 to 150,000 copies a day "to meet increasing demand from both readers and advertisers." In addition, RedEye said it is adding more than 1,000 newsracks in key areas across Chicago.

RedEye found success, the release notes, after removing its 25-cent cover price, making it even easier to pick up. And in this age where it seems only old people read newspapers, RedEye claims that it offers a higher 18-34 index than any other Chicago publication.