Readership of the London Evening Standard shot up to 1.37m in the last 11 weeks of 2009, more than doubling its readership from earlier in the year, according to the National Readership Survey.
NRS figures charting the period since the paper went free on 12 October were released ahead of time to detail the extent to which the Standard’s audience had grown since the change in distribution.
The figures for the period 11 October to the end of December, which were not due to be released until March, detail the growth of readership from the paper’s previous NRS standing of 556,000 per issue between April and September last year.
The title, owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev, discarded its 50p cover price in October, and upped its 250,000 circulation to a free distribution of around 600,000.
Today’s figures suggest the Standard has an average of 2.3 readers per copy with male readers favouring the title: 878,000 compared to 491,000 women.
The NRS figures also show the Standard’s proportion of ABC1 readers was 76.7 per cent and that more young people were reading the paper
Jon O’Donnell, the Standard’s ad director, said: “We are delighted with the numbers as they are higher than we had expected but absolutely in line with our aimsâ€¦
“Our advertisers have been incredibly supportive and we are delighted to be able to repay them with these readership figures at this early stage.”