Standard listings title gets a new lease of life

Metro Life: up to 96 pages

The Evening Standard aims to cash in on the success of stablemate Metro by changing the name of its weekly Hot Tickets supplement to Metro Life.

The 96-page magazine, increased from 72 pages, will draw on the strengths of the morning commuter  paper’s Metro Life section and the six-year history of Hot Tickets, said Associated Newspapers.

Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley told Press Gazette: "We wanted to invest in the listings magazine and make it the best guide to what’s on in London.

"When Hot Tickets was launched it was a great idea and we wanted to put more commitment into it and make it bigger and better. I want it to have the same buzz and clarity of design that the paper now has.

"And there is a logic to linking up with Metro and its Metro Life section.  Readers coming in [to London] in the morning pick up their Metro.

"When they go home in the evening they should buy the Evening Standard and get this great magazine for 35p – the definitive guide to enjoying London."

Consultant editor Robert Johnston, a Wadley recruit from The Sunday Times, is working with editor Mark Booker and group designer Jane Gould to produce the Standard’s Metro Life.

Previous contributors to Hot Tickets will continue to write for the magazine, including Alexander Walker on films, Brian Sewell on art, Fay Maschler and Charles Campion on restaurants and Ed Sullivan on pubs and bars.

New columnists to the magazine include Pete Tong on clubbing, David Smyth on rock and pop and Steve Pettitt on classical music.

There is a new dating column for singles in London and the first 10 pages of the magazine will feature celebrity gossip in a new section called Hot Stuff.

Managing director Mike Anderson, who has recently moved from Metro, described the venture as a smart marketing move for the business, adding:   "Through our continual investment in London we’ve created a market for a brand new entertainment magazine for London."

Gould is now working on a redesign for the relaunch of the newspaper’s ES magazine in October, under new editor Catherine Ostler.

"The great thing about Associated Newspapers is it believes in investing in its papers and magazines and that can only be good news for the readers," said Wadley.

Under her editorship, the Evening Standard has been taking some stick from media commentators about its sales figure, currently at 412,238.

Wadley pointed out that they had chosen to ignore the fact that the figure, compared with last year’s 421,799, included a 15p offer on Mondays which greatly increased average sales.  "If you actually look at the daily sale without the 15p, we are doing extremely well," she said.

"In terms of turning the corner, this requires investment and change and this doesn’t happen overnight." Bernice Davison is leaving the Evening Standard after six years as features editor. Executive features editor Guy Eaton, who joined from the Daily Mail in June, has become assistant editor (features). Editor Veronica Wadley paid tribute to the "enormous contribution" that Davison had made to the paper. Davison said she’s had a "fantastic time" at the Standard but felt "the time has come to move on".

By Jean Morgan

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