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London weekly seeks to emulate Manchester daily

A weekly paper in London has become the latest convert to the “dual model” circulation strategy pioneereed by the Manchester Evening News.

The MEN has boosted its readership over the past year by moving towards a new part-paid for, part-free business model.

Now regional publisher Newsquest is attempting to repeat the trick by transforming its 135-year-old weekly paid-for title, the Richmond & Twickenham Times, into a paper with a mixed free and paid-for distribution.

The free edition of the Times will be delivered door to door in 54,500 homes in Richmond and Twickenham from Friday, October 10, replacing the area’s current free weekly the Richmond Guardian which is to close.

The RTT will remain available for sale with key retailers for 50p in the area. Managers expect the move to increase overall circulation to above 61,000 copies per week.

“We’re making the paper available to more readers. The more readers, the better for our advertisers,” said marketing manager Chris Beech.

The so-called dual model has recently been cited by industry leaders as a potential way forward for the industry in the midst of long-term circulation decline.

The recent biannual regional press ABC circulation figures reflected the trend by combining paid-for and free circulation figures for the first time – a move that was welcomed by the Newspaper Society.

“Local publishers are reaching new and growing audiences across a range of platforms and a variety of distribution methods – print, digital, part-paid, part-free – as they develop strategies to meet consumer demand for local news and information at a time and place that suits them,” said NS communications director Lynne Anderson.

“Focusing purely on the ups and downs of a title’s paid-for print circulation no longer provides a meaningful measure of a local newspaper brand’s total reach.”


Dr Death (30/09/2008 10:10:43)
Dear oh dear. It is amazing how Archant can try and spin the line this news is some kind of achievement having to make, what was until 2001, a successful series of local papers into free ones. Circulation has nose dived in the last seven years and anyone who has ever read it doesn’t need to be a genius to work out why. Certainly anyone who has ever worked there during that time doesn’t.