The Evening Standard is to become a free newspaper from Monday 12th October, a move the paper says will help double its daily circulation to 600,000 copies.
The change follows Alexander Lebedev’s purchase of the paper from Associated Newspapers and a high profile “sorry” campaign designed to win back readers unhappy with the paper’s previous approach to reporting on the capital.
Lebedev says “the Standard has been producing exceptional journalism since 1827 and that is not going to change under my ownership. The London Evening Standard is the first leading quality newspaper to go free and I am sure others will follow.”
Last month News International closed its thelondonpaper freesheet after announcing it had made a pre-tax loss of £12.9 million in the year ending June 29th.
Today’s move poses questions about the future of Associated Newspapers’ London Lite, a former sister title to the Standard.
Evening Standard managing director Andrew Mullins, conceded: “Sustaining a paid-for afternoon newspaper had its challenges even before the freesheets were launched in 2006” but was optimistic that the Standard’s position as “a quality newspaper with large scale and reach should transform our commercial fortunes.”