Saturday 3 October 2009

London's paper landscape is changing again

Darryl over at 853 alerted me to another news story that had passed me by. The Evening Standard is transforming itself from an over-priced 'quality' evening paper into a free-sheet. The landscape of London's newspapers has been changing ever since the demise of the London Paper last month.

I didn't mourn the loss of the London Paper, it was the free-sheets equivalent of the Sun. Full of gossip and using a difficult to read print face. The London Lite is my preferred read of the day. Just the right length to get from the office home - and printed with ink that doesn't come off on your fingers (such a winner).

There was speculation at the time of the demise of the London Paper what this would ultimately mean for the free newspapers in London. Not quite yet it would seem. There are many criterion for a good free paper... the most important being availability. There were always a lot more copies of the London Paper than the Lite littering the tube not necessarily because more people read it but because their distributors stayed out later. Less copy sharing needed to take place. About half of the time when I read an evening paper I'm picking up a copy left behind by somebody else as the distributors have packed up and gone home.

So how will it work for the Standard? Will the current sellers keep their jobs and head out the paper without taking payment? It would be nice to think that they will keep their jobs and replace the cries of "Laaaate Stannar" (it took me years to work out it was 'Late Standard') with "Freeee Stannar".

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