European Newspapers Following U.S. New Media Business Model?
This is a bit of a surprise, even to me. According to a story published in the International Herald Tribune:
When free newspaper publisher Metro International arrived in France four year ago, established competitors cried foul and some of their workers took to the streets, writes Eric Pfanner in the International Herald Tribune. Now, Metro and other free papers are a fixture on the French cityscape, accounting for one in five papers read in France. Publishers of paid-for dailies are considering free editions of their own. The about-face reflects a broader shift in Europe, as free papers grow rapidly and publishers of existing papers increasingly turn to giveaways. News Corp. confirmed plans to start a free newspaper in Britain next month. In France, Le Monde and Le Figaro are said to be working on free newspaper projects. "Almost all over Europe, you see circulation going down for paid newspapers," says Piet Bakker, associate professor of communications at the University of Amsterdam. "At the same time, the economy is improving, helping the advertising market. Free newspapers are seen as the best way to take advantage of this."
business/free.php accessed 7 August 2006.
I tend to swim with the new media and watch how old media evolve in the face of the new. I'm no expert on the European newspaper industry, but this appears to be potentially a major shift. As you know, this is what happened to U.S. online newspapers like USA Today and other news media (e.g., CNN) who tried to charge for content and are now offering it at no charge but with advertising.
You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!