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Paper Monitor

10:20 UK time, Friday, 13 October 2006

After the poster wars and the battle of the DVDs, the Daily Telegraph is about to open up a new front in give-aways – with trails on the front page for free CDs of the Horrible History series.

This adroitly ticks a number of boxes. History always goes down well. It’s educational for the children. And we like getting free discs to stick in the car CD-player. Bish bosh.

The pictures at the top of the paper, around the masthead, are what gets seen on the newsagents counter – and they’re an important marker for the audience that each newspaper is trying to attract.

So alongside the Horrible Histories give-away, there’s a picture of Martha Lane Fox – very English, quite posh but overcoming adversity, successful in hi-tech business.

Meanwhile the Times fights back with a family-friendly feature on the masthead. Instead of a celeb’s face, there’s a plug for a league table of which cars are the most and least safe in a collision.

And the Daily Mail makes its masthead pitch with its latest romantic DVD give-away, The Vacillations of Poppy Carew. While the Guardian goes for a scatter-gun approach with pictures of Wayne Rooney, the History Boys film and table manners with Prue Leith.

If you looked at a paper from only a few years ago, these masthead pitches didn’t even exist. Now they’re becoming more and more prominent. On the Guardian, the actual headline begins a quarter of the way down the front page.

In the Daily Mirror, half of the front page is now absorbed into the masthead plugs – today featuring a beauty pull-out, a picture of a mother who fell from a balcony plus a lotto promotion.

Front pages or front covers? Newspaper or daily news magazine?

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