London freebie draws last breath

FREE-SHEET, The London Paper, has hit the streets for the last time.

The afternoon paper, established in 2006 in part as a spoiler to the Evening Standard, inspired a third freebie in the city, London Lite.

News Corp’s James Murdoch announced last month that The London Paper would close, stating that while it made a marginal profit it was not core to News International’s business model of paid content and advertising revenue.

It is estimated The London Paper had 1.1 million readers immediately before the decision came down to close it.

Some media commentators in Britain, including former Daily Mirror editor Roy Greenslade, who now writes for The Guardian, believes The London Paper and London Lite should have merged. 

London Lite is the free sheet established by the owner of The London Evening Standard to ward off the News International assualt.

The London Evening Standard continues to rack up fiscal losses under its owner, the former KGB spy and 50-year-old billionaire, Alexander Lebedev, who has given the paper three years to break even.

Publishing on the streets of London has been a complex game with competitors often accusing each other of bogus circulation claims and a fight over distribution contracts in areas such as the London Underground.

Last week, The London Evening Standard printed in New York as part of a tourism promotion to increase ties between the two cities.

A full story on that initiative can be found in this week’s News Now ezine on the PANPA website.

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