The power of free newspaper business models in carving out audience-building distribution niches and leveraging these new audiences for advertisers were the key topics at the INMA workshop titled “Does Price Matter? Positioning Free and Paid Newspaper Models” in Copenhagen.
Monica Lindstedt, a co-founder of the Stockholm Metro free commuter newspaper in 1995, told INMA workshop delegates that her definition of creativity has always been “to see what everyone else sees, and do what nobody else has done.” By finding 20 unoccupied minutes on a train during the morning commute to work, Metro transformed the means and ends of newspaper publishing. Twelve years later, there are more than 200 free newspapers distributing 30 million copies daily in 41 countries.
Tightly defining what free newspapers and similar models mean, Baltimore/Washington Examiner Publisher Michael Phelps described his company’s efforts this way: “What we are is targeted distribution that advertisers want to reach.”
Presentations explored why these business models are emerging and what the next approaches must be in business structure, distribution, and target marketing.