Amsterdam Weekly Offered For Sale … To Its Readers

March 27, 2008

Amsterdam Weekly, the city’s free and award-winning cultural paper, announced today to its readers in its latest issue that it is being offered for sale. The price is €5 per 3.75 cm2.

The “sale” is a three-week campaign that puts a new spin on reader-generated content. The paper’s 45,000 readers will choose which content gets printed based on their own financial contributions.

The paper has been talking with publishers and investors in recent months since its current foreign shareholders have retired and are unable to continue their financial involvement.

Since Amsterdam Weekly was launched in 2004, it has established a reputation for combining independent journalism with a strong visual style. The paper has won 11 European Newspaper Awards and has made an indelible contribution to the cultural life of the city.

Fans of the paper can buy blocks online at or in person at the newspaper’s office next door to Centraal Station.

Unique campaign for a unique paper

The campaign is a cross-platform initiative involving print, internet and email, shaped by leading members of Amsterdam’s communications and new media community. A website, developed by Space Babies, will allow readers to click on the exact blocks that they wish to purchase.

“The message to readers is that we are asking for their support during this transition at Amsterdam Weekly,” says publisher Todd Savage. “We believe that Amsterdam deserves a unique paper like Amsterdam Weekly, and we are now working on building new partnerships, establishing a new sponsorship program for big international companies based in Amsterdam, and looking for new advertisers. We believe all these efforts will help achieve the growth we need to stand on our own two feet in the short term.”

Selling out — to the readers

Each of the paper’s editorial pages has been divided into 204 blocks and each block is being sold for €5. Readers can buy one block or as many as a full page.

For the next three issues, only those blocks sold will be printed. Therefore, if the sale is not successful, readers will receive a paper missing individual blocks of content.

“Basically we’re selling out. But only to the readers,” explains editor Steve Korver. “Fans of our photography page can sponsor that page, or those who love our film reviews can show their preferences by sponsoring blocks on those pages. Or maybe they just want to buy the belly of our food critic, the Glutton. Of course, we hope to sell out the paper, but we are also curious to see how the pages will look with missing blocks on the page. It could be quite arty. Who knows? Maybe this concept we’re introducing will be our new business model! But seriously, it’s all about keeping the paper free for the future.”

Reader-generated content

Besides financial contributions, readers are being asked to submit stories of experiences they have had as result of reading Amsterdam Weekly over the last four years.

The reader-sponsored issues will appear for three weeks, and will conclude with a special fourth issue containing these reader stories.

Amsterdam Weekly has also launched a new blog to chronicle the campaign at its website.

Amsterdam Weekly, published since March 2004, was inspired by North American free weeklies like the Village Voice. It combines quality journalism with a critical guide to arts and entertainment in the region. The paper has a free circulation of 25,000 and is distributed to nearly 650 locations all over the city, including cafés and restaurants, bars, bookshops, record stores, fitness clubs, and the Amsterdam Uitburo.

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