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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Things to do in Vancouver: Pick up a Free Daily Paper 

Okay, not the most exciting activity, but Vancouver is going from zero to three daily papers in two months. All will be "commuter" papers, or lite and easy reads.

The first paper out the gate was the Metro, on the streets now for a couple of weeks. Today 24 hours joins it, and Dose arrives next Monday.

In terms of size, the Metro clocks in at 16 pages, and 24 hours, appropriately enough, is a 24-page. All will be tabloids.

Half the fun of these papers is tracing the network of ownership. The Metro exists all over the world, but the local franchise is owned by the Toronto Star and Van Net, a division of CanWest Global. 24 hours is a product of the Sun Media group, aka Quebecor. And Dose? that's also part of the Global media empire. But then, Global already has two daily newspapers in competition in the Vancouver market, so why not add two more?

The spread of these free daily papers, in particular ones by parent corporations with regular dailies, seems to have started with Chicago's Red papers in 2002. Aside from providing more holes for their ad departments to sell, these papers are aimed at being gateway rags, an attempt to stanch the circulation bleeding from newspapers everywhere. Whether the readers these papers attract will take up the habit of newspaper subscription is the $64 question.

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