News International stumbles over first ABC figures for thelondonpaper

News International’s thelondonpaper will register a lower inaugural Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figure for September than that of its arch-rival, Associated Newspapers-owned London Lite, because it initially failed to adhere to ABC rules.

Both freesheets launched at the beginning of last month with a target distribution of 400,000, alongside guarantees to advertisers that they would reach at least 360,000 readers.

It appears that tomorrow’s (Friday) ABC figures will demonstrate that London Lite achieved this with an average distribution of 380,000 copies per day in September. But thelondonpaper failed to realise in time for the launch that for every bundle of newspapers delivered to the vendors for hand distribution to readers, a signed return sheet was required for verification by the ABC.

The problem was only sorted out halfway through the month, which means that the newspaper’s average circulation will register around 330,000, according to an insider – who adds that the paper is now reguarly hitting distribution levels of 380,000.

One press buyer says: “You would think that if Rupert Murdoch’s lot were investing millions of pounds in launching a newspaper, they would have bothered to find out how to register an ABC figure.”

Another buyer says: “It does seem strange that News International couldn’t get organised, but in the long term it won’t matter. It will, however, mean bragging rights for Associated in the short term.”

Both papers have been chastised by local councils for distributing in the capital without the licences required and also for generating litter. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea did not hand out licences for the papers until October 6.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here