Evening Standard to charge for ads running in Lite edition

LONDON - The Evening Standard is attempting to introduce a new trading system, including charging for ads in its Lite product, provoking concern from media agencies.

Up to now, advertisers in the Standard have not had to pay for additional advertising in Lite, but the Standard wants to introduce charging in April.

In recent weeks, the Standard's senior commercial team has taken research around agencies in an attempt to prove that the launch of Lite in December has been a success. The freesheet launched with a 50,000 print run, but Associated Newspapers has since increased this to 70,000.

Agency sources suggested that the Standard team is attempting to increase rates on the Standard to take account of Lite's presence. Some have expressed concern that the price increases will overvalue the Lite audience and that circulation problems with the paid-for Standard are not being addressed.

One press director said: "In terms of cost-per-thousand, Lite is not worth as much as Metro. It's a different audience. They're trying to extract a small increase, but it's all a case of working out what the paid-for edition is worth as well as Lite."

Paul Thomas, a managing partner at MindShare, said: "I wouldn't say I am happy with the Standard's proposals but there'll be conversations and we'll try to find a way forward."

The launch of the Lite edition has led to a 4% increase in the Standard's total circulation over the past two months. However, the paid-for edition's circulation of 345,775 is down year on year.

Alan Brydon, the Standard's ad director, was unavailable for comment.

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