On 12 October 2009 The London Evening Standard will become the first quality newspaper in the world to go free. The number of circulated copies of the London Evening Standard will more than double from 250k a day to more than 600k a day.
Alexander Lebedev, Chairman of Evening Standard Ltd, said: "I am confident that more than doubling the London Evening Standard's circulation and maintaining its quality journalism is what London deserves. An essential fabric of a free and democratic society is high quality journalism. It acts as a deterrent against corruption and is a way to highlight what is beneficial and worth celebrating. I want to invest in newspapers in general for this purpose and in the London Evening Standard in particular. The Standard has been producing exceptional journalism since 1827 and that is not going to change under my ownership. The London Evening Standard is the first leading quality newspaper to go free and I am sure others will follow."
Geordie Greig, Editor of the London Evening Standard, said: “This is an historic moment and great opportunity for the London Evening Standard. Its owners will be funding the distribution of over 600k copies of the newspaper, making it available to more Londoners than ever before. And most importantly this will be a quality newspaper. "The Standard has an exciting and secure future with this new, pioneering strategy of more than doubling our distribution. We will remain the only London newspaper committed to a tradition of high quality journalism with the finest writers and undiminished commitment to the best reporting of news, business and sport. "I also want the paper to continue being a cheerleader for London, the greatest city in the world. We will celebrate where we can but also criticise and expose those who are not doing what is best for London and Londoners."
Evgeny Lebedev, Executive Director of the London Evening Standard, said. "I have always wanted the Standard to be far-reaching, bringing news to as many people as possible in the capital with the highest quality reporting and influential comment pieces. This new model with at least 600,000 copies being brought to London every day will make a great newspaper accessible to more Londoners than ever before. I especially want to ensure that my family underwrites the continuation of its broad and brilliant coverage of the arts, where London dominates the world with theatre, live performances and the visual arts. It is key to my family's thinking to have a great newspaper, celebratory of London but also fearless in its desire to report the news, business and sport brought to as many people as possible. The great advantage of this plan is that we are committed to maintain the quality of the Standard as the premier paper in London but with more than twice its current reach."
Andrew Mullins, Managing Director of the London Evening Standard, said: “ Sustaining a paid-for afternoon newspaper had its challenges even before the freesheets were launched in 2006. There are so many competing distractions to potential readers, particularly with new technologies. Being a quality newspaper with large scale and reach should transform our commercial fortunes. Our London reach will be at multiples of the quality national titles and our London classified business will once again have significant scale. It’s all very good news.”