The Evening Standard in London is expected to show its first year-on-year sales growth for September since the terrorist attacks of July 2005.
Official ABC figures are not out until next week, but managing
director Andrew Mullins told Press Gazette he believes that the Standard sale has now stabilised following a tough 12 months after the launch of two free evening papers in London.
In August, the Standard’s headline ABC dropped 11.38 per cent to 277,555 and the paid-for sale dropped 32 per cent.
Mullins spoke to Press Gazette as Associated Newspapers unveiled a multimillion marketing push for the Standard, which includes new stalls with plasma displays for vendors, a unique plastic charge-card payment system and billboard advertising.
On Monday, the Standard also unveiled a subtle redesign of its editorial offering – which includes a lighter headline font and more teaser headlines on the front page.
But Mullins said the focus was not now on changing the editorial.
He said that widespread reader research had found there is ‘no fundamental problem’with the Evening Standard from its existing readers.
‘They think it is value for money, balanced and a paper they want. It’s the people who don’t read the Standard who have a perception problem with it.”
He said that all national newspapers have had problems with their Monday to Friday London sale in recent years and that the two London free evenings had just added to the amount of ‘noise’that Standard vendors have to deal with.
He said that the Eros card payment system was intended to reward loyal readers by giving them discounts on the cover price and access to reader offers. ‘If we can get loyal readers to buy the paper one more time a week we’ve got a 20 per cent increase in sales.”
Mullins said: ‘We are a big London newspaper, even after having our knock, and we’ve certainly recovered. We’ve stabilised the sale now and if the Eros card kicks in who knows what will happen.”