Free newspaper war looms as Associated confirms London Lite

London is heading for a free newspaper war next month as Associated Newspapers today confirmed plans to launch London Lite against News International’s thelondonpaper.

London Lite is described as a “new free London paper” – and will be available throughout Central London every weekday afternoon from midday, with a circulation of 350,000 to 400,000.

It will handed out throughout London transport zone one – through a mix of merchandisers and vendors, possibly making use of the existing Evening Standard distribution system.

News International is already well advanced in its plans for a free London paper called thelondonpaper. It is to have a staff of 70, including journalists, will have a distribution of 400,000 and be distributed in Central London between 4.30pm and 7.30pm.

Associated has revealed that once the new paper is launched, Standard Lite – the existing free lunchtime edition of the Evening Standard with a circulation of around 80,000 – will be scrapped.

The company has also revealed that there will be some changes to the edition times of The Standard.

A spokesman for Associated Newspapers said: “The Evening Standard, London’s only paid for quality newspaper, will continue to concentrate on breaking news, in-depth analysis, campaigns on behalf of its readers and the capital, entertainment information, finance and sport. “

Standard editor Veronica Wadley said: “We intend to build on the Evening Standard’s great reputation for news and quality journalism. The paper has the highest number of AB readers of any newspaper in London, and the largest circulation of any national paper in the capital with the exception of the Daily Mail. If you want to know what’s really going on in London you must buy the Evening Standard.”

At the same time as launching the new title, the Standard has revealed it plans to relaunch the website “This is London”.

It claims the new look website will: “provide the capital with the most up to date entertainment information and news 24 hours a day.”

The site currently claims to have 1.3 million unique users per month.

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