London freesheets and slipping Standards

evening standardThree years ago, evening freesheets were introduced to the capital, shaking up the way Londoners read and paid for newspapers.

Then, in September this year, News International closed its freesheet, thelondonpaper, and Alexander Lebedev, who owns a 75% share of the London Evening Standard from Associated Newspapers, stopped charging for his title after 180 years as a paid-for newspaper.

Associated Newspapers, too, has now begun a consultation into over the future of its own free title, London Lite, which could result in its closure.

There are conspiracy theories that the events of last month – the closure of thelondonpaper, the Standard going free and the probable closure of the London Lite – surround Mr Lebedev’s plans to eliminate freebies and start charging for the Standard again.

Could this be why the Standard has done so little to get the free version readily available? 600,000 copies are said to be distributed daily, but independents have been cut out of the supply chain – and for many commuters, the paper is hard to come by.

If the conspiracy theory proves true, retailers could find themselves back in the supply chain once again, but would you welcome the Standard back on to your shelves?


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