London Weekly confirms £10.5m backing for 1 February launch

LONDON - The founders of new London newspaper The London Weekly have said it will launch on 1 February, backed with £10.5m in funding raised by Global Publishing Group, a partnership of five private investors.

Along with the free newspaper, 250,000 copies of which will be distributed on Friday and Saturday mornings at London Tube and main line stations, the London Weekly will have a website, launching on 20 December, an online radio station and an awards ceremony in July letting readers vote for their favourite attractions in London.

No editor appears to have been appointed at this stage and a statement from Global Media Group quotes features writer Gavin Brown. The company said that a third of the newspaper's content would come from its readers.

Details about the commercial operation for the paper are also unclear and it is not known if sales will be handled in house or by a third party sales house.

Eyebrows have been raised over the decision to distribute to commuters on Fridays and Saturdays but the company said research it  has carried out has shown this was a good time to reach people as they are planning their weekend.

Paul Morris, named as marketing manager for the newspaper, said: "What the team at London Weekly found was that 70% of Londoners felt that they were being bombarded by free titles every single day on their way to work and back."

With only £10.5m in backing from Global Publishing Group, the newspaper will need to move quickly to start making a profit. News International said its daily London free newspaper thelondonpaper made a loss of £16.5m in its first year of publication. The paper was closed in September, followed swiftly by Associated Newspaper's London Lite.

With The London Evening Standard now planning to distribute 800,000 free copies daily, the new paper faces stiff competition in an expensive market to break.

Global Publishing Group said the London Weekly had been in planning since 2008, before the other free newspapers were closed.

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