Editor's Desk: Allister Heath, City AM

Business newspaper City AM has just announced a circulation rise, bucking the downward trend of the London freesheets. How is it beating its rivals and how should PROs target it?

Allister Heath
Allister Heath

How would you describe the paper?
It’s a very modern, high quality free newspaper targeting London’s business community. We provide news, entertainment, analysis and sport to our readers in the morning.

What makes you different from your competitors?
We’re very different from paid-for newspapers and other rival sources such as Reuters. We have a very unusual package – late-breaking news and original analysis at the start of our readers’ commute. We are rolling out our distribution to more commuter stations so people have more time to read the paper.

Will the new free London Evening Standard affect City AM?
Not at all. The morning and evening markets are very segmented. If anything, it shows that quality newspapers can be free.

How has City AM increased its circulation while other freesheets have closed?
We are a specialist upmarket business paper. Our readers have high incomes [an average of £87,000 p.a.] and are sophisticated. We are capturing a greater share of the business community.

What is your ideal story?
A market-moving exclusive. M&A stories that no-one else knows about that will get us noticed. Our bread and butter is to cover the day and last night’s news, but the exclusives add spice.

How would you like PR professionals to pitch?
By emailing our newsdesk or the news editor and explaining clearly why they are selling us something.

When should they call?
We are quite different in that we only have one late edition, so we have a very big night newsdesk that goes to press at about 1.30am. If a really significant story breaks late, PROs can still call after midnight. We want to provide our readers with a comprehensive digest.

Any pet PR peeves?
When PROs don’t get back to you, aren’t straight with you or are selling you irrelevant stories that shows they are not familiar with the paper. For example, we don’t cover showbiz.

What are your plans for the next 12 months?
We are doing more on the website. We will start updating our website throughout the day by the end of the year. We will further improve our analysis and comment in the paper. I am trying to take the paper’s quality to another level.

Circulation 102,499
Frequency Daily
Contact news@cityam.com

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