The Carlow People has long competed with The Carlow Nationalist for dominance of the local newspaper market in Carlow. Persuading Carlovians to switch from the established Nationalist was always going to be a difficult ask. Finding enough news in the county to warrant purchasing both was also going to prove difficult.
In 2010 they attempted to charge for their online content. In 2011, their content, online and paper, is free. The Carlow People is now a ‘free sheet’. Once a week you can collect your free Carlow People from various stores around the county. Yes, that’s right, free Carlow People!
The parent company of the Carlow People are also responsible for Metro Herald, a free sheet frantically distributed on the streets of Dublin every morning. So they have form to make this a success. Social media is being used to generate interest and drive up circulation. I quite like the Twitter and Facebook pages. News in a small county is limited but it is still nice to have daily updates to read as opposed to waiting for the once a week publication.
I am unsure if the switch to free sheet is an effort to reduce costs or if it is a considered changed in strategy. Time will tell if it is a success, what do you think?