As predicted last week [WAMN: 10-Aug-06], UK newspaper giant Associated Newspapers is to enter the London arena with a new free title to battle News International's upstart thelondonpaper.

Associated, which also publishes the Evening Standard and morning freebie Metro is ditching Standard Lite (a watered-down, free version of its paid-for parent). In its place, early next month, will appear London Lite.

The title will have an initial circulation of between 300,000 and 400,000 and will be distributed by hand. The plans for its launch mirror those of NI's new title, which debuts September 18.

In addition, newspaper owners still await a decision by Transport for London regarding exclusive afternoon newspaper distribution rights at the capital's Underground (subway) stations. This will pave the way for yet another title vying for advertising revenues.

Comments Alex DeGroote from City brokers Panmure Gordon: "The economics of these launches don't add up. I am of the belief this is bad for everybody apart from the consumer."

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff