AN expects London Lite to be profitable

Associated Newspapers is “confident” that it will make its free evening London newspaper London Lite profitable within three years. The comments come as the publisher gears up for a head-on battle with News International’s rival launch, thelondonpaper.

Associated has brought the paper’s launch forward to today (Wednesday) to beat thelondonpaper, which will will appear on September 4. Consumers were given a taste of London Lite, which replaces Standard Lite, in a test run last Friday.

Observers believe that the two launches face a bloody battle for advertising revenues and readers, and there has been widespread speculation that News International is more prepared for a fight than Associated.

But Daily Mail managing director Guy Zitter claims he is certain the paper will be profitable in its third year because it already has the distribution channels that were established for Standard Lite. It took Associated four years to make morning freesheet Metro profitable, although it did not have any competitors.

Zitter adds: “There’s little to pay for – we have eight presses at Surrey Quays which publish the Daily Mail every night. After that, three of them print the Evening Standard while the other five sit idle. The only real cost is extra crews for the presses.”

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