Freesheet Planned for Washington Commuters

15 July 2003

The Washington Post Company is to launch a weekday freesheet in its home city next month.

Starting from early August, the new paper will be given away to commuters on public transport during the morning rush hour. Titled The Express, it will also be available on college campuses.

The launch marks a bid to attract younger readers and commuters who would not normally read the flagship Washington Post. “It's a way for The Post Company to reach an audience that by virtue of lifestyle and time limitations finds it difficult to read newspapers frequently,” commented the company’s vp Christopher Ma.

It is also designed to pre-empt a move on the Washington market by a rival publisher. Luxembourg-headquartered Metro International, one of the globe’s biggest freesheet firms, already owns papers in Boston and Philadelphia, and has been eyeing Washington – which has more passengers on its subway than any US city bar New York – as a potential market for expansion.

The initial print run will be 125,000, less than one-sixth of the Post’s daily circulation. The paper will target advertisers that generally buy slots on morning radio and will offer space either in just the Express or in a bundle including the Washington Post and online. It will also run classified ads.

Content will mostly consist of short news and entertainment summaries plus pieces from the Post’s website. The freesheet will also be used to plug material in the group’s flagship title.

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff