Freebie Watch: July 2006

These days, you get so much more for the price of a national newspaper. As a service to Press Gazette readers, we present the first in a regular review of the DVDs, posters and other promotions obtainable gratis with the purchase of tomorrow's fishwrap as newspapers scramble to boost their circulation. 

The Independent/Independent on Sunday

In a move which borrows from the success of The Guardian's nature wallcharts collection a couple of months ago, The Indy started giving away a glossy art poster every day from 22 July, a promotion which has carried on this month. It was launched with TV backing. Actively purchased sales decreased by 3.55 per cent year on year to 250,761 — a big improvement on June's 10 per cent drop. Verdict: hit

Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday

From 9 July onwards, the Mail titles began a nine-CD French course — with discs one and two free in the daily and Sunday titles, and the other seven available by taking vouchers into WHSmith. From 15 July the Mail titles gave away a nine-CD Italian course in the same way. Evidently running out or European languages, the Mail launched a four-CD Portuguese course giveaway from 24-29 July. It invited readers to collect tokens and then pay £5.99 for the course. On 1 July, the Daily Mail also had a DVD included with the paper of the film Mrs Dalloway. The Daily Mail went down 1.51 per cent despite all the freebies and additional sales from the new Republic of Ireland edition. Verdict: miss


The Express titles encouraged readers to learn Spanish with an eight-CD course based on exchanging in-paper coupons at newsagents, with the odd disc available in-paper. The Express titles continued the language promotions later in the month by printing coupons which allowed readers to buy complete Spanish and French courses for £14 each. Sales of the Sunday Express were down 10.19 per cent year on year, so the promotion evidently had a limited effect on its sale. But the daily managed a creditable 0.33 per cent drop, ahead of the competition and well ahead of the paper's long-term trend. Verdict: hit

Other assorted swag in July included:

  • The Times: A week of free audio book CDs, including Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Stormbreaker and Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
  • Daily Telegraph: A week of Secret Seven audio book CDs (redeemable at WHSmith), five National Geographic DVDs (voucher promotion, plus cheque for £1.99).
  • News of the World: Disney Pixar greatest hits children's animation DVD (voucher redeemable at Tesco).
  • Sunday Telegraph: Giant dinosaur poster.
  • Sunday Mirror: Free cartoon DVDs of Puss in Boots, Rumpelstiltskin and Superman Returns (voucher redeemed at Asda).

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