Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Evening Standard price rise & new London papers

Today the London Evening Standard raised its cover price from 40p to 50p, normally this would be no big deal but for the fact that Monday will also see Rupert Murdoch's News International launch a new free evening publication called 'The London Paper’. This will be a free giveaway along the lines of the Metro which is available free every morning at most stations in the London area and from experience is what most people on the train read. The London Evening Standard is also to launch a new free publication called 'London Lite' which launches tomorrow, clearly the price rise is no doubt funding this new publication and with it also publishing Metro it is no doubt subsidising these publications.

With Evening Standard circulation having slumped by 150,000 a day in the last year, this rate can only increase further and I worry that in London we will end up in a few years time with London evening papers being free or the Standard circulation dropping even further to a point where it no longer become viable to publish. Generally, I do find the Standard to be a useful paper as it is the only paper to focus on London issues and cover London in depth even if sometimes I disagree with its journalism and coverage of certain issues. While competition and choice is to be welcome, I worry in the longer-term that major London issues end up being ignored.

With the huge growth of the web over the last five years with increased numbers of people especially in my generation, (18-34) only accessing news on-line, newspapers need to adapt to these changing circumstances. The Economist this week has a very interesting article on this issue. Newspapers should be looking at their market long term, newspaper sales are falling and it is all very well putting up the cover price but long-term the internet including blogs is a huge source of information along with it been readily accessible. With a growing on-line community, this is something that is likely to result in further newspaper circulation falls in future years.

I enclose articles on the new publications and would welcome comments.



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