Independent to follow MEN in free model?

MediaGuardian reports industry rumours today The Independent is to launch a free edition, along the lines of the Manchester Evening News model of part paid-for, part free distribution.

The Guardian Media Group-owned MEN is given away free in Manchester city centre but costs readers living or working in one of Greater Manchster’s outlying boroughs.

Dan Pimm, the head of press at advertising firm Universal McCann, told the site he “wouldn’t be surprised at all” if the paper launched a free edition but Andy Taylor, the head of press at Carat was sceptical of the rumour and said his contacts had denied it.

The Indy’s circulation for December 2007 was 187,171, excluding give-aways, 4.34 per cent down year on year.

The MEN’s paid-for circulation feel to its lowest ever figure after its free edition launched, but editor Paul Horrocks said his paper and website combined had a larger audience than the old paper ever enjoyed.

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