Wednesday, 6 September 2006

The digital side of the London freesheet war

The Media Guardian story on the online competition between the free London papers was picked up by Editorsweblog and they included one of my comments:

http://www.editorsweblog.org/news/2006/09/the_digital_side_of_the_london_freesheet.php

An important aspect of the row that has surfaced between Associated Newspapers and News International which have both just launched freesheets in central London, is how the two companies plan on tying their print and web editions together.

An article in the Guardian points out that the younger professional crowd, at which the two free papers are aimed, are increasingly ignoring television when they get home from work, instead, plugging into the Internet. So there is a lot of opportunity.

Thing is, Associated is well established in this domain, having started Thisislondon.com back in 1997 to accommodate its Evening Standard. And thelondonpaper.com, NI's online accompaniment to its freesheet, has struggled, launching late on its first day and displaying frequently a holding page while staff deals with technical difficulties.

Thelondonpaper.com is also trying to integrate interactivity, accepting contributions from readers but there is no evidence yet that this will become a popular feature.

Media buyers will be closely watching how the respective websites and papers will fare. Director at Zed Media, Nick Burcher said, "People will develop a preferred product and it won't just be about the paper product, it will be about the best overall offering."

Source: The Guardian

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