OK, Print's Not Dead -- But What're the Financials

E&P does a looooong piece expounding on the multiple launches of free print dailies. It's true, there are lots. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's wondered why average folk (as opposed to media junkies) would buy a tabloid when they're handed one or two of them for free as they board the Metro or subway or El or underground.

So, yes, it's a time of foment and ferment and it's kind of exciting to watch the dailies sprout and the big newspapers try to eat their own lunch with free dailies before it's eaten for them.

But the Editor and Publisher story doesn't address the economics in any meaningful way. What timelines are these papers on? What are their metrics for financial success? How many ads do they need to sustain their operations? Can an individual daily hope to compete with a multi-city player like Metro? Can Metro compete with more localized publications like Newsday's AM-NY? (Can Newsday continue to sustain AM-NY without the Newsday infrastructure behind it?)

And what of the Web? The economics there are just as stark as for paid pubs. Ads just don't command the same rates, and the push to heavier apps -- video, Flash, etc. -- is costing more money per user. E&P, if you get this, would like a little more info from the "P" side of your name.

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