SINGAPORE - A snaking queue formed outside Raffles Place MRT station on Thursday (Dec 1) morning, as crowds braved the rain to get their copies of The New Paper (TNP), which is now being given out free.
"I think it's a good idea, you get more people reading it and they can spend their time wisely on public transport," said Mr Jason Tan, 55, who is self-employed. He was among the commuters enjoying the revamped TNP at Raffles Place.
With TNP's merger with My Paper, readers can now enjoy a fresh mix of content catering to professionals, managers, executives and businessmen (PMEBs). Yet it retains its traditional strengths in areas such as sports, food and entertainment.
Stressed TNP editor Eugene Wee: "We will continue to do stories about people in Singapore that will inspire and tug at readers' heartstrings." He turned up in person at the station to distribute the first edition of the revamped paper.
"When we went free, I think that converted a lot more people to say, now that it's free, we want to pick it up. I think it's showing based on the reception we're getting just here alone," he added.
Those who collected a copy on Thursday also received Owl goodie bags from 8am. They contained two different types of Owl coffee and a voucher for its cafes
The giveaways continued for two hours from 11.30am at Capitol Piazza. This will take place on Friday (Dec 2) as well. Readers who drop their name cards into a TNP vending machine there will receive Owl coffee and brownies with the newspaper.
Until Dec 4, those who show a copy of TNP at Seasonal Salad Bar outlets are eligible for a free meal too.
Ms Yvonne Yeo, 57, a senior administrative officer, said she looks forward to reading more local news, featuring Singaporeans and their stories in the freesheet.
"There were a lot of soccer news and advertisements, so I seldom bought it," she added. "But I subscribed to its weekend edition for my children in the past."
Bank officer Jesslin Chong, 45, said she expects that the new TNP will have more content she is interested in, including news related to the economy.
Singapore Press Holdings chairman Lee Boon Yang was at Raffles Place station to observe the launch.
"I think it's a good start, but it's still early days. There's still a lot of work left for us to do, to make sure that the new New Paper becomes a well-accepted and well-read newspaper in Singapore's context," he said.
"We will certainly do our best; the editorial team there will ensure that the content is persuasive and interesting for readers."
TNP will be distributed from 7am to 9am on Mondays to Fridays at MRT stations including Raffles Place, City Hall and Orchard.
From 11.30am to 1.30pm, it will be given out at places such as Raffles Courtyard and Tanjong Pagar Plaza.
On Saturdays, readers can pick up a copy from 11.30am to 1.30pm at 31 MRT stations as well.
TNP had been a paid newspaper for 28 years, having cultivated a strength in covering sports, food and entertainment.
Readers can have the new free TNP delivered to their homes. Existing subscribers of other Singapore Press Holdings publications need to pay only a nominal handling fee of $4 a month. Others have to pay the handling fee as well as a delivery fee of $3 for HDB flats, $4 for condominiums or apartments, and $5 for landed property.
For home delivery, please call the subscription hotline on 6319-8878 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also available online at www.tnp.sg and as a downloadable app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.