Marketing and advertising executives have weighed in on the viability of new London freesheet The London Weekly, Brand Republic reports.
And the response is far from positive. Of the four asked for comment, three said they thought the paper would "maybe" be viable, and another said it would not.
Starting a new freesheet in London is a bold move. Two free commuter papers, the London Lite and thelondonpaper, have closed this year. And any new ones will be in competition with the London Evening Standard, which more than doubled circulation after going free.
This explains the uncertainty around The London Weekly, with the ad executives reluctant to predict its success. It's worth remembering, though, that it will be distributed on Fridays and Saturdays, in contrast to the Evening Standard's weekday distribution.
Former marketing director of The Guardian Marc Sands told Brand Republic that it was too early to even tell if the free Evening Standard was viable. "The experience of the past decade suggests that the era of 'free' to the reader, yet supported by advertising, is not sustainable," he said.
VisitLondon Marketing Director Martine Ainsworth-Wells questioned whether another paper was really necessary. "In a free market, more than one paper in London makes sense for both customer and advertiser - rates are competitive and quality of content is maintained," she said. "In reality, we have yet to see this happen."
Other commentators including Juliet Haygarth, Managing Director of advertising agency Brothers and Sisters, pointed to the losses suffered by the defunct freesheets. "Given that [thelondonpaper] made a loss of £16.5m in the first year, and the new kids on the block have only £10.5m squirreled away, I hope they have some innovative ideas up their sleeves," she said.
But these three still hedged their bets, responding that the paper would "maybe" work. Chief Executive of Seven Squared, Sean King, was the only one who predicted it would not succeed. "As a Londoner, I don't see the need for another freebie to enter the fray," he said.
Of course, competition and diversity is healthy for the newspaper industry. But if these predictions are anything to go by, another freesheet may be too much of a good thing. Only time will tell.
Source: Brand Republic