City AM, the London business freesheet, has abandoned plans to roll out sister editions across the UK, as it announces a profit for the first time since its launch.
Managing director Lawson Muncaster, who helped launch the freesheet 18 months ago with a £10m launch budget, will not be drawn on the paper’s profit margins, but reveals advertising revenues were up 65% on last year.
He says he expects growth to continue, but admits that feedback from media buyers has put the paper’s domestic expansion plans on hold.
Muncaster says: "I think we were more keen to roll out to other cities 10 to 12 months ago. The media buyers have told us that by extending to other cities there is a danger of diluting the brand."
City AM had previously earmarked Manchester, Leeds and Bristol as possible cities to roll out the paper. The freesheet, handed out between 6.30am and 10am across The City, Canary Wharf and Mayfair, is expected to hit an Audit Bureau of Circulations figure of 100,000 for March.
Muncaster says the focus in now on a possible launch in Edinburgh, which he says "is the only city that is close to London in terms of its financial community."
International launches, in cities such as New York and Moscow, have not been ruled out, he adds.
City AM, meanwhile, has reached profit before other free newspapers, such as Associated’s London Metro, which took three years to break even.
Sceptics continue to question whether Associated’s London Lite and News International’s rival freesheet Thelondonpaper will ever make money for their publishers.