On the heels of his election as Entrepreneur of the Year in the American industry, David Weissman's entrance to the world of publishers will take on another chapter with the upcoming publication of a free newspaper together with Eli Azur, one of the owners of Charleston, and the publisher of the The Jerusalem Post, and TheBpost.
Meanwhile, the free newspapers market is soaring. Israeli, the first free Israeli newspaper, was spasmodic at first, with the investment of Jewish American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who was new to Israel and the media business. Adelson established Israeli with businessman Shlomo Ben Tzvi, owner and controller of the religious newspapers, Makor Rishon and Hatzopeh, as a newspaper that at first was distributed in gas stations and train stations.
After a short period of time, the two had differences of opinion, which turned into a raging judicial battle that began when Adelson filed a suit for more than NIS 10 million, raising strong complaints against Ben Tzvi. Adelson claimed that Ben Tzvi passed millions of shekels from the treasury of their company to the other companies under Ben Tzvi's ownership.
Ben Tzvi, on the other hand, claimed that Adelson's goal was to obtain full control of the company. In retribution, Ben Tzvi sued Adelson for creating a scam to stop a Maariv deal he was considering - a deal that eventually never materialized. In addition, he sought to forbid Adelson from creating a new free newspaper to compete with Israeli.
Israeli's circulation went down at least 25 percent as a result of the judicial dispute between the two, as well as the fact that Adelson stopped streaming money into the newspaper. According to speculation, the newspaper is now at death's door.
Soon, Israel Today, the free newspaper that Ben Tzvi tried preventing Adelson from publishing, is expected to be published under the supervision of editor Amos Regev, who edited Israeli for a short period of time. Most copies will be delivered to private homes. Experienced editors and reporters have been recruited, including the biggest name among them, Dan Margalit
The Yediot Aharonot group is due to publish a free newspaper in coming weeks, as well, with editor Aran Tipanrov. Speculation that it will be distributed in the SuperSol network has been denied recently. The free newspaper will be based on the Internet site of Yediot Aharonot, Ynet.