The owners, the privately-owned Global Publishing Group, have promised a newspaper focused on entertainment, light politics, music and sports, aimed at an 18-44 professional audience. Celebrity and soap news will be complemented by Going Out/Staying In Guides, Horoscopes from Russell Grant and TV & Satellite listings. The print offering will be accompanied by online radio and TV stations, both available via the website and for the latter, via YouTube.
All London Weekly channels will be highly interactive, with 30% of the content being generated from readers. The owners aim to connect with their audience via a wide range of social media including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
The cornerstone of the strategy will be the distribution approach. Copies will be available on Fridays and Saturdays at tube stations in Zones 1 and 2 – when the audience will be in ‘planning the weekend’ mode and more receptive to advertisers’ messages. The fact it is a weekly publication will no doubt also make it a more substantial offering than the recently demised daily London freesheets.
The London Weekly is clearly aimed at the market onced served by thelondonpaper and the London Lite, with an editorial offering bridging the gap between weightier offerings like the Evening Standard and entertainment and lifestyle publications such as Shortlist and Stylist. The questions remains however - is this a true gap in the market or will the London Weekly disappear between the 2 stools it is trying to straddle? With the Evening Standard delaying a decision on increasing its circulation from 600,000 to 800,000, its unclear if London can support the free commuter publications it already has, let alone a new entrant.
As yet, much is promised and much has yet to be delivered. The site is little more than a shell at the moment, with limited content, much of it out of date. The social media channels, which will form such a key part of the interactive strategy, are also still in the development phase with only the twitter account active. Still, we’re promised a multimedia advertising campaign to promote the February launch this month which should help us to understand more about the substance of the offering.
One thing is for sure - as the £10m cash pile of the London Weekly’s owners is less than thelondonpaper lost in its first year, we’ll know if we have a new, permanent addition to the London media scene before the year is out.