Observers express fears for Evening Standard

The London Evening Standard can only survive as a free newspaper if it maintains its position as a quality product with a decent level of investment in editorial, say industry experts.

The newspaper, recently bought by Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev from Associated Newspapers, is to go free from 12 October. The publisher plans to distribute more than 600,000 copies a day.

The announcement follows the decision of rival publisher News International to axe its free afternoon title, thelondonpaper.

Observers say that the Evening Standard will incur heavy costs by raising its print run and turning to a free distribution model. To attract advertising revenues, it will need to remain positioned as a quality product and invest in journalism to create a point of difference with rival freesheet London Lite, which is owned by Associated Newspapers.

One senior newspaper executive says: “If the Standard goes against being editorially-led it will be another ‘also ran’ with London Lite.”

Gabrielle Rossetti, media manager at Arena BLM, says: “Given the cost implications, it remains to be seen how the Standard will continue to invest in quality journalism.

“There is also the question over whether quality journalists would prefer to write for a free or a paidfor paper. Undoubtedly the content will change as the free market has grown up on the content that we see in the likes of London Lite.

“This will be the most important question for the Standard in the coming weeks and will ultimately be a huge factor in whether it is successful.”

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