Tuesday, October 20, 2009

London Evening Standard .

Oh, times have changed in newspaper land. People in London can now pick up a free copy of the London Evening Standard. For the first time since it was founded in 1827 , the London Evening Standard is to be given away free of charge on the streets of the capital and in the city's schools, universities and offices.

The radical change in business strategy represents a major gamble by Alexander Lebedev, the Russian billionaire who acquired London's only paid-for evening newspaper earlier this year, when he bought a majority shareholding for £1 from Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail. The plan, which comes into effect on 12 October, involves more than doubling the distribution of the paper to 600,000 and attempting to recover the lost circulation revenue through increased advertising.

...So yesterday afternoon I picked up a free copy of the London Evening Standard, just to see what Londoners were getting. I was very surprised at what the reader was given for free! It exceeded my expectations and I can imagine that they will draw in a lot of readers. Generally you only get what you pay for and most free newspapers are very tame but here, the London Evening Standard has raised the bar. It was a very brave move by the new owners to double the print run and give the product away free but I hope the gamble pays off. Of course, this will shake up all the other newspapers now that Londoners have another choice that will not cost them a penny. I think this will further reduce the circulation figures of the national daily newspapers for people who are lucky enough to be able to pick up a free copy of the London Evening Standard around London.

Will the London Evening Standard be able to survive on advertising revenue alone? Time will tell, but I think it will because of the visibility it gives advertisers. You cannot get this advertising response from the public with poster sites because people simply walk past them. When you grab a newspaper you have to turn the pages yourself in a conscious effort to see what is on the next page. The reader will search down a page and read your advertisement. The reader is also self-selecting and has chosen to grab a copy of the newspaper so your advertisement is more likely to be on-target.
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