New freesheet for London planned with a UGC angle

The London Weekly aims to fill 30% of pages with user-generated content.

New London free newspaper The London Weekly will launch on 1 February and nearly a third of its content will be generated by readers, says its publisher.

The news that a new title was being planned for London emerged at the start of this week when a holding site appeared at www.thelondonweekly.co.uk. The site is set to go live on 20 December and the aim is for The London Weekly to have up to 30% of its content generated by readers.

The website will provide an online radio station, a video sharing service and a news sharing service “offering members of the public a chance to write and publish their own stories online”.

The planned title is backed by Global Publishing Group (GPG), which is made up of five private investors and says it has nearly £10.5m to back the project. The publisher aims to distribute 250,000 copies on Friday and Saturday mornings outside mainline Tube stations.

London Weekly marketing manager Paul Morris says: “Our research found that 70% of Londoners felt they were being bombarded by free titles every single day on the way to work and back. The focus spent by readers on these newspapers was very minimal as the weekday cycle meant commuters were more focused on getting to work and on their return are too tired to concentrate on ads or editorials which target them.”

He added that 85% of the poll said they would like to see a round-up of the whole week’s light political news, entertainment, fashion and lifestyle.

GPG says it was planning the title before London Lite and thelondonpaper announced they were to close.

Media buyers have given a mixed reaction to the proposed newspaper but some say there is advertiser money available to be picked up by the right product.

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