A newspaper war could soon break out in London, as plans by British media baron Richard Desmond to launch an evening freesheet gather pace.

As reported earlier this week [WAMN: 19-Nov-02], Express Newspapers owner Desmond aims to launch a paper in the capital to compete with morning freebie Metro and the paid-for London Evening Standard, both owned by arch-rival Associated Newspapers.

The new freesheet has now been christened the Evening Mail. It may, however, face a spoiling tactic by Associated – an afternoon edition of Metro, an idea currently under consideration.

Distribution could make or break either title. Desmond is in talks with retailers about carrying the Evening Mail, though Metro benefits from its owner’s long-term contract with the Underground [subway] network.

The last time Associated’s stranglehold on the capital was challenged was in the 1980s, when Robert Maxwell tried to launch the London Daily News. He failed.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff