Stampa Sera (Evening Press), a new free evening version of Italy’s famous national title La Stampa, is to be launched in the environs of Turin, home base of the newspaper group owned by the Agnelli dynasty - which also controls the nation’s largest industrial company, Fiat.

The launch was triggered, say locals, by the dual incursions into La Stampa’s backyard of City, a daily freebie published in Rome and Milan by the latter’s Corriere della Sera – Italy’s top-selling national daily – and Leggo, owned by journalist Franco Caltagirone, which also circulates in Naples, Rome and Milan.

The latest development brings to four the number of major daily free newspapers in Italy. Completing the quartet is Metro, publish by Swedish group Metro International which also publishes the title in a number of other European cities. All are distributed in plazas, shopping areas, bars and restaurants

Observes Romano Spagnolo, a communications professor and analyst at Rome's Catholic University: “The field is getting crowded, but I have yet to see any information to indicate that more than one or two free newspapers can survive in any given market. In the end, some of these publications will lose a lot of money and be closed.”

Stampa Sera will feature 26 pages per day, five days a week, with a print run of 200,000 and a staff of eight.

News source: AdAge Global