Evening Standard 3rd free London free daily?

The London Evening Standard is exploring the idea of distributing free copies late in the afternoon to homeward-bound subway travelers according to the Guardian. The new strategy will take place when the new owner Alexander Lebedev takes over in March.

The plan would in fact mean that the Standard goes to a mostly free model, as the paper already distributes around 45% of its 290,000 circulation for free. Competition with the other two free paper London Lite and thelondonpaper will increase.

The plan is rather similar to the strategy of the Manchester Evening News that started in May 2006 handing out copies for free in the center while charging for delivery in other part of the city. Total circulation at MEN increased but total paid circulation dropped substantially. Whether the Standards total circulation would increase so much with two other free competitors around might be disputed.

4 Responses to “Evening Standard 3rd free London free daily?”

  1. Martin Belam Says:

    It is an interesting proposal. My gut feeling is that faced with the choice of three free papers as I was commuting home I would probably opt to take the Standard for free rather than the other two, but maybe only because I remember buying it regularly before the other freebies arrived on the scene.

  2. Andreas Says:

    Well, I think this is oversimplified. As far as I now about 45 percent of the circulation is distributed via bulk distribution. These papers are free for the readers but not free for the companies that buy the papers. Although the price is far below the normal copy price those papers are not distributed for free …

  3. Piet Bakker Says:

    Bulk circulation of 45% is pretty much. The only paper that comes close is the Int. Herald Tribune. But making free circulation – handing it out on street corners – it an integral part of your business plan, like MEN does and ES wants to do, is a firm step beyond targeted bulk circulation.

  4. Andreas Says:

    The problem is that there is no way back. Once you start giving the paper away the people get used to is. Charging for the paper will lead to the loss of most readers. I know no successful example for free dailies that converted to the paid-for model in times of recession.