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Tight squeeze for first financial daily

The presses will soon roll out the first Swiss financial daily Keystone

Switzerland, home to one of Europe's most important financial centres, is poised for the launch of its first purely economic daily newspaper later this year.

This content was published on April 18, 2006 - 08:47

But the launch of the free journal Cash Daily in the autumn will add pressure to its sister weekly newspaper Cash in an already highly competitive market, according to media observers.

Project leader Hans Ott told swissinfo that it is about time Switzerland had a daily journal dedicated to its financial community. Cash Daily will initially be launched in the German speaking part of the country.

"Switzerland is the only country in central Europe with no daily economic newspaper. We have been thinking of doing this for many years because Switzerland has a very strong economic market," he said.

"Nobody knows precisely why Switzerland has not had one yet, but one reason may be that the readership is too small. We did not think there were enough potential readers for a paid edition."

Switzerland has three weekly economic newspapers in circulation; Finanz und Wirtschaft, Cash (weekly) and Handelszeitung as well as a monthly magazine called Bilanz.

Stiff competition

And with stiff competition from the free morning newspaper, 20 Minutes, Roger Blum, director of Bern University's Media and Communications Institute, believes something will have to give. One of the most likely casualties is the weekly edition of Cash, he believes.

"The launch of Cash Daily may be the death of Cash weekly because there is not enough room in the market for everyone," he told swissinfo.

"Cash weekly has had problems in recent years attracting advertising like many other newspapers. Cash Daily may be the answer to these problems.

However, Ott argues that the new daily edition of Cash, far from damaging its weekly stable mate, will boost readership of the weekly newspaper.

"Cash Daily will give a surface view of the days' economic stories. Readers will go to the weekly to get the background and a more in-depth insight, so the daily will promote the weekly edition."

Ott also believes the new journal will be sufficiently different from its main rivals to avoid a circulation war.

"There will be more competition with 20 Minutes because both are free, but we expect only a small overlap with readers. Cash readers are a bit better educated and we don't want to alienate them."

Newspaper of future

Blum thinks Cash Daily should avoid being too highbrow to avoid a clash of styles with the prestigious Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) newspaper.

"The NZZ economic section is very serious with a lot of details. Most people in the financial markets use NZZ for their analysis. Cash Daily will be a more popular consumer-directed newspaper," he said.

Cash Daily will be available at train and tram stations, street distribution points and sent to companies on demand all over Switzerland. But a major part of the Cash Daily project will be the simultaneous launch of an accompanying website.

Publisher Ringier has set a target of around one million weekly contacts (circulation, viewers and hits) for the Cash family of weekly and daily newspapers, television channel and websites – around double its present benchmark. Ott is confident that the paper can reach 100,000 readers with the website making up the bulk of the contacts.

"We want to make the newspaper of the future not just tied to the printed version, but also using the internet," he said.

"The Cash readership is the youngest of the economic newspapers and is very technology minded. Most of our readers will have a computer on their desk with a broadband internet connection."

swissinfo, Matthew Allen in Zurich

In brief

Ringier also plan to launch another free newspaper, called Heute [Today], in the German speaking part of Switzerland this summer.

Heute will be distributed in the evenings - as opposed to the 20 Minutes morning circulation – and will support the tabloid paid daily newspaper Blick in the same way that Cash Daily will promote its weekly sister newspaper.

20 Minutes, launched in 1999, recently broke the one million monthly readership mark. It expanded into the French speaking part of Switzerland in October last year where it went head-to-head with free daily Le Matin Bleu.

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Key facts

Cash Daily plans to launch sometime before the end of November.
The 20-pages will cover Swiss and international news (with an emphasis on the US and Asia), a popular financial advice column and a specials section featuring anything from the latest gadgets to careers advice.
Cash weekly has a weekly circulation of around 270,000.

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