Free papers defy downturn: Thelondonpaper enjoys record ad-income as City AM eyes Manchester roll-out

As free London business newspaper City AM reveals plans to launch in two new cities – the editor of thelondonpaper has told Press Gazette that his title is also defying the credit crunch.

Two years after News International launched thelondonpaper, Hatfield said his paper is continuing to grow advertising sales year-on-year – despite the economic slowdown. He said that advertising for August was up year-on-year and the title remains on course to break into profit.

The managing director of free financial paper City AM, Lawson Muncaster, revealed today that his title now plans to extend its distribution to Manchester and Edinburgh next spring.

Thelondonpaper currently has a daily distribution of around 500,000 against rival title Associated Newspapers‘ London Lite, which distributes 400,000 and launched at the same time in September 2006.

Hatfield told Press Gazette: ‘We’ve got a million readers give or take – the best way of knowing that it is to be out and about in London in the afternoon, everyone reads the paper.”

He said the success of thelondonpaper – among younger readers in particular – proves that there is still a thirst for printed news and contradicts those who say newspapers are dying.

‘No-one can say what technological development is coming down the line – but there is something people clearly like about having a product in their hands, and that’s really attractive to advertisers

‘How many times has the death of newsprint been predicted? There is something lovely about the physical product.”

He said: ‘We are still growing. Anyone who says they know what’s going to happen in the next few weeks is talking rubbish. No-one’s been through a time like this. But so far we have held up really well and we are on course to break even.

‘After two years people know we are not going away and it’s easy to demonstrate to advertisers how well read the paper is. We still haven’t exhausted the list of potential new clients, because we are only two years old there are still lots of people who haven’t used us for the first time.”

He added: ‘This is a part of the newspaper industry where it is not all doom and gloom. We are still buzzing and still trying to do new stuff.

‘I still believe that young people like a print product. But you have to increasingly make it easy for them – not just in terms of what you produce but in the means of distribution.”

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