Network Rail has awarded the right to distribute a free evening newspaper at its ten London stations to News International’s thelondonpaper, which has beaten arch-rival Associated Newspapers’ London Lite to the contract.
The move means thelondonpaper will be available in distribution bins at ten mainline stations including Euston, Charing Cross, Kings Cross, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo in order to reach its target of young, ABC1 consumers. The contract allows the publisher to use bins between 3pm and 9pm.
However, insiders at the top level of Associated are already playing down the loss of the seven-year contract. One source says: “It can’t be denied that one aspires to distribute a free newspaper in bins as we do with Metro. But for that to work, you can only have one title on the market – again, as we do with Metro. Bins don’t work if there is competition.”
Associated is now expected to ramp up its distribution of London Lite and target commuters entering the ten London mainline railway stations which News International has the exclusive contract with.
Thelondonpaper managing director Ian Clark says: “According to Network Rail there are 1 million people passing through the ten stations during our hours of allowed distribution, 76% of whom are ABC1 according to its research.”
The number of people distributing thelondonpaper by hand will now be reduced in order to cut costs. Clark says: “Our aim has always been to find the most effective way of reaching the right audience. It’s better for consumers who want to access thelondonpaper as they will know where the bins are permanently located rather than having to find a vendor.”