News International’s incoming free newspapers chief Ian Clark admits it is “possible” that a national freesheet could follow the London evening publication that it is expected to launch in the autumn.
The publisher of The Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World has handed Times Newspapers’ ad director Clark the role of general manager of News International Free Newspapers.
But Clark says the capital’s new title may not be the limit of News International’s ambitions. He states: “There are possibilities for more, and because of the way the division has been set up, there is no reason why more free newspapers could not be launched. But for now we have a lot on our plate with the fight for the London licences – that’s our sole focus.”
But other industry sources bullishly predict a spate of free newspaper launches from News International once the London title is launched.
One source says: “I think the very name of the division suggests there will be other newspapers targeting other markets, perhaps in other cities, or perhaps a national freesheet.”
Another source says: “It may launch a national newspaper on a part pay/part free model, where consumers pay for the newspaper in the morning and a slimline version is available free in the evening.”
Meanwhile, press buyers are tipping Times Newspapers’ trading director Dominic Carter to replace Clark as advertising director.