City AM signs new distribution deals in circulation campaign

Free newspaper City AM has struck deals with banks and businesses to be distributed inside company offices, as it attempts to increase its circulation.

The freesheet, which was launched in September and targets the City of London, is aiming for a circulation of 100,000. At present, it distributes between 65,000 and 70,000 copies.

The paper is taking steps to increase reader numbers in the same week that the Audit Bureau of Circulations has begun to measure it.

City AM will be distributed at City Airport and from Mayfair. Deals are understood to have been struck with JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and at least two other businesses to set up distribution racks for employees in their offices.

City AM managing director, Lawson Muncaster, says changes are also being made to the way distributors give out the newspaper at City railway stations.

“Our distributors plant themselves a little way from station entrances to give workers time to recognise the brand and make a decision whether to take a copy. Take-up in certain areas is about 30 per cent,” he says.

“We’re putting up signs in stations to alert commuters to the message ‘City AM is two minutes away from the station’, which we think will make a difference.”

But one agency press director is sceptical about the move, saying: “The fundamental thing that shifts newspapers is the headline. The JP Morgan deal might grab young executives who are too snobby to be seen picking up a free paper on the way to work, and the ABC figure adds credibility. But I think City AM will continue to struggle.”

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