The new owners of The Independent may turn the title into a free in certain regions, according to Evgeny Lebedev, chairman of the paper's new board.
He said he was considering taking the paper free within the M25 region, which would boost distribution and make the paper a more compelling proposition to advertisers.
However, his father, Alexander, is quoted in today's Media Guardian as saying he has no plans "at the moment' to make The Independent free.
In his first interview since becoming chairman of Independent Print Ltd, the holding company set up to buy the Indy and its stablemate, the Independent on Sunday, Evgeny told the Financial Times that the papers could not continue to run as now.
"We will have to do something. The Independent can't stay in its present form because it will continue losing money," he said.
[As I report in today's Guardian, the Indy and Sindy have very low "proper" circulations, selling only 95,050 and 82,667 at their full cover price in the UK. Advertising revenues fell 33.1% in 2009 year-on-year, and the papers made an operating loss of £12.4m].
Lebedev spoke of the need to find a better business model as "the only way forward" and said the company was considering a range of strategies.
He also revealed that Simon Kelner, reappointed as the Indy's editor this month, would only hold the position for an "interim" period.
He said: "There's an understanding between Simon and us... it could be a few months or a few years. In the long term, both him and I, we have a joint understanding that there will be another editor."
Lebedev also reSourcevealed that some of the Indy's operations may be merged with those of the London Evening Standard. Though he mentioned "synergies" between the papers, a full-scale merger was unlikely.
"For example," he said, "with the World Cup coming on, rather than sending four reporters from one paper and four from another, you could send five altogether to cover the whole thing and then share the information. That's a possibility."
Both Lebedev père and fils believe the Standard's fortunes have been transformed since they turned it into a free in October last year.
Though they sacrificed £14m in annual circulation revenue, Lebedev suggests the new model appears to be paying off.
In recent weeks, advertising revenue has exceeded the combined advertising and circulation revenue generated in the same weeks a year ago. So Lebedev hopes the Standard will now break even in 2011
Source: FT/Media Guardian