News today that NI are going to stop bulk sales of its newspapers, though this will only impact The Times and The Sunday Times. Hot on the heels of the closure of the LondonPaper, this is another step towards implementing KRM's dictate that all content is paid for, rather than given away.
Bulks have been a bolt-on to the actual sales number for too long now, and previously we've always argued that they have little real value as we've never seen any evidence that the trail they generate ever converts into purchase.
However, in the current market and climate, where the number of people actually reading (and buying) print copies of newspapers is decreasing so rapidly, the time could actually be right for bulks to have more of a value. Previously, it was all about converting print buyers from competitive titles - give them the paper for free and they might switch over. But now, it's more about keeping print buyers in the habit of buying and reading print newspapers. There is an argument that bulks would work better to re-inforce or re-start the print readership habit - particularly on the right flights and in the right hotels, where people have time to read and remember the value of a good old fashioned dead tree.
An alternative point of view I concede, but it's got some merit. It's no longer about trial, it's about protecting existing print buying behaviour.
Anyone have a point of view?