News Int to shut the Thelondonpaper

News International is to close thelondonpaper, its free evening newspaper, three years after its launch.

thelondonpaper

Thelondonpaper recorded a pre-tax loss of £12.9 million in the year to 29 June 2008 on turnover of £14.1 million.

The initiative casts a question mark over the plans for Associated Newspaper’s free rival London Lite. It’s not thought that there are any plans to close the title at present.

News International has begun a 30-day consultation on the proposed closure with approximately 60 of NI Free Newspapers, the subsidiary that publishes thelondonpaper. The company plans to continue to publish the title during the consultation period.

James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive, Europe and Asia, News Corporation, said: “The strategy at News International over the past 18 months has been to streamline our operations and focus investment on our core titles.

“The team at thelondonpaper has made great strides in a short space of time with innovative design and a fresh approach but the performance of the business in a difficult free evening newspaper sector has fallen short of expectations. We have taken a tough decision that reflects our priorities as a business.”

News International began to review its efficiency and effectiveness in early 2008. It has refocused around a set of strategic priorities and has exited or sold non-core operations including News Magazines, PropertyFinder and CentreCore.

When it launched there was speculation that News International would eventually use the title to pitch against Associated’s free morning newspaper Metro for a distribution contract with London Underground.

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