The Evening Standard is going to deliver to homes in London for the first time in its history as it battles the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its commuter-reliant distribution model.
The Evening Standard distributes 800,000 copies a day, of which more than half are handed out near train stations in the capital, with advertisers paying to reach its readers.
But this number has fallen to an average of 642,000 copies a day over four days as people stay at home amid government advice to avoid non-essential contact and travel to halt the spread of Covid-19.
In an email to staff today, Standard chief executive Mike Soutar said: “In common with almost our entire office, so many Londoners have found themselves working from home and as a result the streets, particularly in the centre of town, have been much quieter than normal.
“And we expect this trend to increase, as the outbreak continues and transport services reduce further.”
As a result he said the Standard will begin a home delivery service from Monday, delivering its print edition to homes in 26 neighbourhoods in Zone Two and Three of the capital.
“From Hampstead to Bethnal Green, Brixton to Hammersmith, Swiss Cottage to Greenwich, our vans and delivery teams will home deliver hundreds of thousands of copies every single day,” said Soutar.
The Standard is aiming to distribute a total of 500,000 copies per day.
Soutar said this was still “considerably larger than anything else serving London’s readers”, adding: “In the context of currently lower advertising volumes, it makes good economic sense too.”
Hundreds of distributors who hand out copies will be redeployed to deliver to homes as pick-up around stations is temporarily reduced.
More copies will also be available for free at key retailers.
Soutar said pick up of the paper in suburban supermarkets such as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, where it is also stocked, had increased, declaring it an “essential supply alongside a pack of paracetamol.”
Morning financial freesheet City AM, which also serves London, has suspended its print edition from today and will cut staff pay by half in April in drastic measures to cope with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.