….As payment card proposal aired

The Evening Standard is looking at introducing an electronic swipe card to make it easier to pay for the 50p newspaper. It is hoped the scheme will help the paper win back readers from rival freesheets.

The card, which could be introduced by the autumn, would be the first scheme of its kind in the newspaper market.

It is understood that the paper believes the facility will prove popular with customers and will allow it to compile data on the demographic of its readership.

The swipe card is one of a range of proposals considered by new managing director Andrew Mullins.

The Evening Standard has previously considered a similar proposition in a joint venture with Transport for London, which would offer customers an Oyster card-type facility to pay for the paper but the plans did not come to fruition.

It is understood the new venture will involve customers topping up the electronic card online up to the value of about £20. Customers will then be able to pick up the paper with just a swipe of the electronic card at facilities across newspaper outlets, including with Evening Standard vendors.

Other measures thought to be under consideration by the Evening Standard include the replacement of some street vendors with New York-style newspaper vending boxes.

It is also thought to be looking at a big increase in the number of bulk copies distributed free via outlets such as airlines.

The paper increased its cover price from 40p to 50p this year and is keen to differentiate itself from freesheets London Lite and thelondonpaper.

The Evening Standard declined to comment on the plans as Marketing Week went to press.

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