Free newspaper readership

Twelve years after the introduction of the first free commuter newspaper in Sweden, circulation of free newspapers has risen to
40 million daily copies. Readership of free newspapers is more complex and in many cases harder to pin down. In general it is
different from readership of paid newspapers. The first difference concerns the demographics of the readers: free papers target
the affluent 18 to 34 group and in many cases try to achieve that by choosing particular ways of distribution, and also by
concentrating on specific content. Age, indeed seems to be significantly lower in most cases although the average readers does
not seem to be particularly wealthy. The second distinct feature is the amount of unique readers of free newspaper. Results on
the few available cases indicate that around half of the readers only read papers although also lower levels have been reported.
The third issue concerns readers per copy. The traditional free commuter daily can reach to a rather high number of readers per
copy; but with many markets reaching free newspaper saturation this number seems to be dropping, whereas free door-to-door
distributed free papers and afternoon papers have a lower readership per copy. In this paper we will present information on these
three issues from a dozen markets, using audited readership data.

 

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