A snaking queue formed outside Raffles Place MRT station yesterday morning, as crowds braved the rain to get their free copies of the revamped The New Paper and goodie bags.
"I think it is 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 in Raffles Place.
Following TNP's merger with My Paper, readers can now enjoy a free fresh mix of content catering to professionals, managers, executives and businessmen (PMEBs).
Yet it retains TNP's traditional strengths in areas such as sports, food and entertainment.
TNP editor Eugene Wee stressed: "We will continue to do stories about people in Singapore that will inspire and tug at readers' heartstrings."
Where to get The New Paper
Mondays to Fridays
•7am to 9am at 49 MRT stations, including Raffles Place, City Hall and Orchard.
•From 11.30am to 1.30pm at places such as Raffles Courtyard and Tanjong Pagar Plaza.
•11.30am to 1.30pm at 31 MRT stations
TNP will also be distributed at selected malls such as Plaza Singapura, Paragon and Centrepoint, and at cafes, offices, country clubs, libraries, airline lounges, hospitals and on premium bus services.
Readers can also have the new free TNP delivered to their homes.
Existing subscribers of other SPH publications need to pay only a nominal handling fee of $4 a month.
Those who do not subscribe to SPH publications will need 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 properties.
TNP is available online at www.tnp.com.sg and as an app for download on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Seow Bei Yi
He showed up in person at Raffles Place MRT station to distribute the revamped paper, on its first day of publication.
"When we went free, I think that converted a lot more people to say, 'Now that it is free, we want to pick it up.' I think it is showing, based on the reception we are getting just here alone," he said.
Those who collected a copy yesterday also received Owl goodie bags from 8am. They contained two different types of Owl coffee sachets and a voucher for its cafes.
The giveaways continued for two hours from 11.30am at Capitol Piazza. This will continue today as well. Readers who drop their name cards into a TNP vending machine there will receive Owl coffee and brownies with the newspaper.
Until Sunday, those who show a copy of the 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 free sheet.
"There were a lot of soccer news and advertisements, so I seldom bought it," she said. "But I subscribed to its Sunday 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 MRT station to observe the launch, alongside chief executive Alan Chan.
Dr Lee said: "I think it is a good start, but it is still early days. There is 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 Singa- pore's context.
"We will certainly do our best; the editorial team there will ensure that the content is persuasive and interesting for readers."
Advertisers and partners, including Owl International, Princess Cruises and social network app HeyBuddies, look forward to reaching out to PMEBs through the revamped TNP.
Mr Jeremiah Ng, chief technology officer of HeyBuddies, said: "It serves a very important segment of the population, the PMEBs. Now that it has become a free paper, it is going to be even better because it reaches out to more people and it can be even more creative."
Mr Anson Tan, general manager of video streaming service Viu Singapore, said: "We are excited about the revamped TNP, in particular how the paper will now have entertainment stories spread throughout the week instead of a weekly supplement."
On TNP's content, Mr Wee said: "We are focusing a lot more on matters that affect the wallet, as well as affecting the heart - stories about the economy, wages, property, things that have an impact on people's way of life, their bank accounts."
He added: "But we will still have a lot of the old TNP content - the sports, entertainment and stories about people in Singapore."