The Evening Standard is set to launch an Oyster-style cash card next week in a bid to replace cash sales of the newspaper across London.
The Eros card, which will be launched on Monday at Waterloo Station, can be used to buy copies of the paper instead of cash, similar to Transport for London’s Oyster card scheme.
Customers will put credit on the card through the Standard’s website and tap it on a yellow pad at selected vendor stands to pick up their paper.
During a one week trial period commuters travelling through Waterloo will be given cards with pre-loaded credit and will be given five free songs from music download service iTunes every time they add more credit.
In a statement this morning the paper promised the card will ‘save you money over paying directly by cash andâ€¦cardholders will benefit from additional privileges as well as exclusive discounts”.
Andrew Mullins, the paper’s managing director, said: ‘Over the next two years in London, Zone One will increasingly become a cashless payment zone and the Evening Standard will be helping drive and lead this trend.
‘The Evening Standard Eros card is a genuine innovation. It not only provides greater convenience for our loyal readers but also appropriate added value benefit rewards. It will also save them money when buying the Evening Standard.
‘Importantly the Eros card will also help us better market our newspaper to our readers. For the first time we will have in depth knowledge of how many people are buying the paper and on what day and at what time. This knowledge, and how we use it, will firmly help us establish the Evening Standard as London’s No1 and only quality newspaper.’
The card will be available from Waterloo from Monday from 7am to 9.30am and 4pm to 7pm daily and will be rolled out to the rest of London from 1 October.
Since the introduction of two free evening newspapers 12 months ago, Associated’s London Lite and News International’s thelondonpaper, the Standard’s headl;ine circulation is down 12 per cent year-on-year, according to last month’s ABC figures. However paid-for sales, excluding bulk give-aways, have declined by 32 per cent.
In last week’s National Readership Survey, the Standard’s readership estimate was 12 per cent down on year-on-year.