LA Times Publisher David Hiller (right) told a luncheon audience Thursday that his company may start a free daily. It would be similar to parent company Tribune's RedEye in Chicago, a profitable six-day tab that focuses on the 18-to-34 age group. Reuters quotes Hiller as saying Redeye has added 600,000 readers in an average day to the Tribune's audience. Tribune also publishes the free daily amNewYork.
In June, there was a report that billionaire oilman Phil Anschutz, the owner of the Examiner free dailies, was going to expand into Los Angeles. But a source in the Anschutz empire shot down that report in July, saying the Denver tycoon has put all newspaper expansion plans on hold until their financial picture improves. The source hinted that Anschutz was ready to pull the plug if he didn't see changes.
It's not unusual for major newspapers to announce plans to start their own free dailies in order to keep invaders out of their markets. The Denver Post did just that in January 2006 in order to keep Anschutz from starting a free daily in Denver. However, the Post has never actually launched such a paper.