Digital street paper project

The way we consume media is changing and street papers face the same challenges as the mainstream press – customers switching from print to digital.

But street papers also face a unique problem: unlike mainstream press that can sell pure digital access via online payments, it is essential for street papers to retain the vendor transaction – i.e. customers buying a physical product from a seller on the street.

Our proposed solution will allow street vendors to offer their customers two options – print and digital – priced identically. The digital version would be sold on a card, each one carrying a unique QR code which could be scanned on compatible devices. Readers could then read their digital edition on their smartphone, tablet or computer. 

INSP has secured funding from the Esmee Fairbarin Foundation to develop the required software and systems to run a six-month pilot scheme with one street paper (The Big Issue in the North), commencing later this year.

If successful, we hope that the digital model will be attractive to many of the other street papers around the world. Indeed, with a global street paper readership in excess of 6 million, the concept has scope longer term to become one of the world’s largest paid digital media platforms.