London freesheet launches to start circulations u-turn

The battle between free evening newspapers in London will cause newspaper circulation to increase this month for the first time in almost a decade.

News International’s thelondonpaper and Associated Newspapers-owned London Lite could safeguard the future of print newspapers, despite the increasing availability of free content online.

The claims come from research carried out by agency Media Planning Group, which forecasts that newspaper circulation could rise by up to 3% due to the launches. Both papers have a target circulation of 400,000.

MPG head of press Alex Russell says: “The paid-for newspaper sector has been in decline for many years now as we all spend more time online with free access to quality content. Savvy publishers have latched onto this trend with the launch of free newspapers and we expect more to follow.”

Ian Clark, general manager of thelondonpaper and head of News International’s free newspaper division, has hinted that the company has plans beyond the London freesheet. There is speculation that News International has plans to compete with Associated-owned freesheet Metro in other cities.

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