Desmond Readies New London Freesheet

29 January 2003

The launch of a new evening freesheet in London by media mogul Richard Desmond is “just weeks” away, according to sister paper the Sunday Express.

Desmond is determined to break the stranglehold on the capital enjoyed by arch-rival Associated Newspapers, owner of Metro (a morning freesheet) and the paid-for Evening Standard.

His answer is the London Evening Mail which, gloats the Desmond-owned Sunday Express, “could severely dent [the Evening Standard’s] circulation.” Adding insult to injury, it has also hijacked the name of Associated’s flagship title, the Daily Mail.

The Evening Standard may be vulnerable after it recently put up prices and reduced promotions to counter a fall in advertising. Preliminary estimates suggest the new freesheet could hit its circulation by up to 50,000 copies.

Distribution will be key. The Sunday Express revealed that the Evening Mail “will not be tied to a £6m distribution contract with transport authorities,” meaning it will be unable to mimic Metro’s successful use of underground stations to reach commuters. Desmond has not revealed his plans on this front, though it has been suggested he might side-step this problem by recruiting agents to stand outside stations and dispense the freesheet.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff