Lite’s out at Friday 13

londonlite_cover.jpgThe last issue of Associated Newspapers’ London Lite will be published on Friday November 13 according to The Guardian.

After Richard Desmond (The Daily Express, the Daily Star) said he was thinking about a London evening free paper, London-i, in November 2004 the Evening Standard countered this with its own spoiler on December 14, 2004.

The 48-page ‘lunch edition’ Standard Lite replaced the first two editions of the Evening Standard. It had a staff of 12 journalists, carried some ‘bite-sized’ articles from the Standard, as well as a TV-guide and a ‘what’s on’ section. It was distributed between 11.30 and 14.30 in the Circle Underground line area.

In 2005 London mayor Ken Livingstone wanted the exclusive distribution deal between Metro and London Tube changed, so another free (afternoon) paper could enter the market. He was supported by the Office of Fair Trading who decided (after two years) that the afternoon slot would have to be opened up.

Associated Newspapers (Metro, Standard Lite), Richard Desmond, News International, Metro International and the Telegraph Group were believed to have issued a bid. Transport of London expected a revenue of 4.6m pounds. Standard Lite increased circulation from 70,000 to 150,000.

News International (the Times, the Sun) did not wait for the results of the bidding. From September on, 400,000 copies (later increased to 500,000) of thelondonpaper paper were distributed outside tube stations from 4.30 pm on.

The Standard Lite was converted to London Lite on August 30, 2006. The bid for the afternoon slot was canceled. No publisher wanted to pay enough while both competitors already moved to hand distribution.

A battle between News International and Associated newspapers resulted in all evening papers (including The Evening Standard) losing money.

After the Thelondonpaper closed down and the Standard going all free (and increasing circulation to 600,000) London Lite was no longer needed with its competitor gone and itself hurting the revenues of 25% owned Evening Standard.

London Lite distributed 400,000 copies and had a readership of 1.1 million.

One Response to “Lite’s out at Friday 13”

  1. Monday Noon Update 11/9/09 « Coney Media Says:

    [...] MOURNING: Closure of a second meaningless London tab. [Guardian] Also: London Lite goes dark on Friday. [Newspaper [...]