Thelondonpaper trumped by London Lite in distribution

LONDON - Associated Newspapers is winning the battle in the London freesheet war, consistently distributing more copies of its London Lite title than its News International rival, thelondonpaper.

Associated sources said it is regularly hitting its 400,000 distribution target, while thelondonpaper is closer to a distribution of 360,000.

However, London Lite's distribution success appears to be hitting sales of the Evening Standard to a greater extent than was claimed by Associated. Two weeks ago, it said that the Standard's daily sale was down by around 7,000. However, sources close to Associated said it sold around 220,000 copies at full price last Friday, down from its average full-price sale in August of 268,405.

Both titles expect to publish an ABC figure for September, but thelondonpaper's may be lower than 360,000, because it had problems with ABC verification of its first two weeks' distribution, which was recorded as closer to 320,000.

Ian Clark, the general manager of thelondonpaper, said: "Associated has been ring-fencing Tube stations, so our learnings from the first couple of weeks have seen us move towards trying to get the right sort of people."

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