IT LOOKS like a newspaper, it feels like a newspaper, but it sure as hell doesn’t read like a newspaper you’d pay good money for.
Forty-eight pages, roughly 22 per cent ad content, and there doesn’t seem to me to be a news or sports story I haven’t read elsewhere.
Ok, so I’m an old fart and London Lite is aimed at the internet generation (though I’m damned if I know why that should be taken to indicate 18-30 clubbers only!).
But there is precious little in day one’s offering that would make me abandon either my Guardian, Mirror or Metro.
It is colourful, pictorial and busy, but there isn’t a “today” line from front to back.
It borrows heavily on the sloppier bits of its Big Sister, the Evening Standard: picture leads on Keira Knightley and James Blunt’s girlfriend are reproduced on almost identical pages in the Standard and the Lite, as is Derek Macolm’s review of The Black Dahlia.
What the Lite lacks is what Veronica Wadley’s Standard offers in abundance: Victor Lewis-Smith, Fay Maschler, Andrew Gilligan, Diane Abbott. That, I suppose, is the whole point.
London Lite features the sort of content that might keep an averagely intelligent child quiet on a (short) car ride.
It does offer an impressive five-page telly guide, a hefty wodge of What’s On listings, a heartbreakingly simple crossword crammed inside the usual quizzes and Sudoku, and several pages of timeless news and sport trivia.
If Associated’s aim was to make the Standard look good, the ruse has worked. My biggest question would be: why did its production require the 40 journalists the Derry boys claimed to be throwing at the project?
Final thought: it really doesn’t matter a damn what the Lite or next week’s rival, Rupert’s thelondonpaper, actually look or read like… it’s a case of Who Bins Wins.
Ken Livingstone’s decision later this year, as to who gets to put their product in Tube station bins, will decide who wins the advertisers, according to Nick Ferrari, now London’s premier radio presenter, but once putative editor of the never-to-be Desmond London evening.
“The biggest battle we faced was with advertisers who said they wanted a sort of proof of purchasing decision on the part of the punters before they’d place their ads,” said Ferrari.
“They weren’t interested in girls and boys in day-glow tabards shoving copies at all and sundry.
“They equated the act of making a conscious decision to take a paper from a bin as the equivalent of a purchasing choice.”