The paids are fighting back
In ten years, the Association of Free Newspapers has made remarkable progress. From 400 free weeklies with about 14m copies, the much improved free weeklies alone now comprise over a thousand titles distributing 41m copies. Publishers who used to denigrate AFN now support it. Meantime the Newspaper Society is attempting to act for a changed industry's mixed paid/free economy, and the big owners, all with mixed holdings, remain interested in their flourishing paid business. A general new mood to speak up for paids is in the air, and it seems the public is still buying them - and reading both. One issue in the fight-back is whether advertisers and agencies will reappraise the regional press as a medium for national advertising.
The Association of Free Newspapers is currently riding high. It was pushing out the hospitality boat at the House of Commons this month at the start of a year of events to celebrate its tenth anniversary. It has good reason to celebrate.