Rupert Murdoch’s News International launched a free newspaper in London, called The London Paper. There are already several free newspapers handed out to commuters on the rail networks and on the streets. There is also a paid-for evening newspaper in London, the Evening Standard. Clearly News International wants a piece of the advertising action. But they seem to have been unaware of some facts about newspaper readership – or they think they can overcome them. Newspaper readership is falling significantly. In particular the under 35 age group is deserting the newspaper world. Instead, the majority of the younger age group now get their new online, via various Internet news sites, or using aggregators such as Google News. Considering the young, affluent sector is a prime target for advertisers, it’s no surprise that many of them are switching their activities to the Internet. Only two days ago I was reading that some “futurists” believe that newspapers will have been effectively killed off by the Internet within a couple of years. Now that may be far fetched, but there is clearly a significant attack on newspapers. Launching a free one in a relatively crowded marketplace appears to fly in the face of logic.

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