Freesheets hit Evening Standard’s circulation

The Evening Standard has taken a 17% plunge in sales year on year, as the effect of the saturated London freesheet market continues to bite. The paper also dropped 3.81% to 266,037 month on month, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figures for February.

News International’s free afternoon newspaper thelondonpaper extended its lead over Associated Newspapers’ London Lite by nearly 100,000 while City AM hit its highest distribution figure. Associated’s Metro dipped slightly to 542,844 from 548,007 the previous month.

Distribution of thelondonpaper increased by 13.24% in February to 494,127. Meanwhile, circulation for the London Lite fell by 0.05% to reach 400,780 while City AM scored 95,053, recording a month on month growth of 14.82%.

City AM chief executive Jens Torpe says the paper is aiming to up its distribution by between 2,000 and 3,000 per month this year.

News International freesheet thelondonpaper, meanwhile, upped the ante on its rivalry against London Lite, with a spokesman saying the ABC figures indicated that “Londoners are increasingly choosing us as their preferred afternoon read”.

The ABC figures show all the national daily quality broadsheets, except for the Financial Times, recording a year-on-year sales decline. Tbe FT grew 0.54% year on year to 437,519.

The national mid-market and popular press suffered a similar fate, with the Daily Mirror posting one of the biggest year-on-year falls of 6.43%, from 1,693,997 to 1,585,090.

The Sunday papers also endured a drop in sales, with biggest faller The People, which fell 13.02% year-on-year, from 893,885 to 777,514. The Mail on Sunday and The Independent on Sunday were the only two Sunday papers to record year-on-year growth.

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