Last day of the Lite

londonlite_cover.jpgAfter little more than three years the curtain falls for free evening paper London Lite. Steve Auckland, Managing Director of Associated Newspapers Free Division said in an official DMGT press release:

“It’s been a pleasure to work with a small and highly motivated team of individuals. I’d also like to thank the agencies and clients for supporting a unique offering in the afternoon market place – and not forgetting our one million daily readers.”

Actually, there were 1.1 million readers in the last survey period for the 400,000 copies of the free daily that was launched to protect the evening market (Evening Standard) against the also free thelondonpaper by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch, who seemed to be envious of Associated Newspapers’ morning free daily Metro, did not want a free morning paper because that could hurt The Sun in his opinion.

The Lite is not the first free daily in the UK to close, it is actually the 11th. The full list of free UK closures (and launches):

  1. Birmingham Daily News 1984-1991 (Tuesday-Friday), converted into the weekly Birmingham MetroNews.
  2. Tonight (London) 1994, distributed at tube stations, went weekly at the end of the year and closed in 1995.
  3. Metro, 1999 – started in London to fend off Metro International, grew to a circulation of 1.3 million and 10 editions in 2009. Only sub-edition in Brighton closed.
  4. Manchester Metro 1999-2001, Guardian Media Group, merged with Metro Manchester edition (called News North West).
  5. Morning News (Newcastle) 2000, Metro International, assets (subway contract) sold to Trinity Mirror.
  6. Standard Lite 2004-2006, digest edition of Evening Standard, later upgraded to London Lite (with increased circulation).
  7. FTpm 2005-2006, a free A4 paper by the Financial Times, London first, Scotland and Birmingham later, launched with fanfare, closed down without a whisper.
  8. City AM 2005-, London business paper, steady growing in circulation, national and international expansion plans put on hold.
  9. MEN Lite 2005-2006, a digest version of the Manchester Evening News, after the closure succeeded by:
  10. Manchester Evening News 2006-, started distributing for free in city center, now concentrating circulation on two days a week (Liverpool Daily Post employs same strategy but on a marginal scale).
  11. Argus Lite 2006-2007 (Brighton), Newsquest free daily, spin off from paid weekly.
  12. London Lite 2006-2009, Associated attempt to spoil Murdoch’s paper
  13. Thelondonpaper 2006-2009, Murdoch attempts to spoil the market for Associated Newspapers.
  14. The Record PM 2007-2009 (four local editions in Scottland) by Trinity Mirror, light version of paid morning paper.
  15. Evening Standard 2009-, 75% sold by DMGT/Associated Newspapers to Russian millionaire Lebedev, who converted the paid evening paper (250,000 circulation, half of it already free) after a few months to a free model with a circulation of 600,000 – to be increased to 750,000 at the end of 2009.


Total circulation of free dailies in the UK looks like this.

The rise in 2000 is the result of new Metro editions; also in 2004 and 2006 new editions were added while  circulation in London doubled between 2000 and 2009.

In 2006 circulation increased also because of the launch of the two London free evening papers and the MEN going part free.

One Response to “Last day of the Lite”

  1. Friday Edition 11/13/09 « Coney Media Says:

    [...] London Lite’s final day. [Newspaper [...]