Wednesday, 27 October 2010

i am r u?

I read the BBC piece yesterday about 'i' the new national newspaper being launched to sit alongside The Independent - and for just 20p.

Against a background of falling circulation for its own title and all other qualities, and the Murdoch move to put online content behind a paywall, the Independent's owner - Alexander Lebedev - is hailing this as a radical departure.

Not that radical really. Just re-purposing some of the content - especially sports - from the main newspaper. The worry for the Independent is that the brand extension might actually pull out readers from the more expensive newspaper. Its play on 'independence' is also far less compelling these days, given the independent comment available via web commentators and friends who don't have to wait for a paper version the next day - whatever the cost.

In behavioural economics terms, 'i' may only be 20p but it's 20p more than the now ubiquitous free Metro or the 'free' internet. If I was a sports fan, I might already have received updates via e-mail before I left home or via mobile during my journey. I might pick up Metro en route to check out anything I'd missed and then then go online later if I wanted to read something in more depth - all for no perceived charge, though of course it's all paid-for somewhere down the line, usually by advertising.

Rather than 'it is, are you?' I think today's message is 'why pay more?'

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