Newspapers and mags switch distribution methods

Richard Stuart-Turner
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A raft of newspaper and magazine publishers have made changes to the way that their titles reach their readers, in light of the coronavirus situation.

A number of titles are offering free delivery via the Deliver My Newspaper service
A number of titles are offering free delivery via the Deliver My Newspaper service

As of yesterday (23 March), London free-sheet The Evening Standard has started delivering to people's homes as its main readership of commuters abandons the capital under the government's latest strict instructions to stay at home and only travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”.

Mediatel reported that, as well as increasing the volume of copies sent to retailers that are still allowed to open, the title's publisher ESI Media will begin distributing copies directly to people's homes in 26 neighbourhoods in London's fare zones two and three.

“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,” said chief executive Mike Soutar in a note to staff.

And we expect this trend to increase, as the outbreak continues and transport services reduce further.”

While The Evening Standard had a circulation of 787,447 in February, according to the latest newspaper ABC figures, Soutar said it was targeting delivery of around 500,000 copies per day, with hundreds of street merchandising staff redeployed into the home delivery network.

Another London-based free-sheet, City A.M., temporarily suspended its print edition last week and asked its entire staff, including management and reporters, to take a 50% pay cut next month.

A number of paid-for newspapers, meanwhile, have rolled out temporary free delivery initiatives or are increasing the push of their subscription packages and digital platforms to readers.

Titles including The Telegraph, Daily Mirror, The Sun and Daily Express are offering free home delivery for 12 weeks, via the Deliver My Newspaper service, while i has been promoting a subs offer on its cover.

Elsewhere, free magazines Stylist and Time Out have now temporarily stopped their print editions, the latter going digital-only for the first time since it launched in 1968, according to Press Gazette.

Time Out, which reported a “slowing” of advertising revenues, also rebranded to Time In last week, to reflect the increasing number of people being urged to stay at home.

Time Out Group chief executive Julio Bruno said: “We are responding quickly to these unprecedented times with a temporary Time In rebrand, a launch of an e-version of the magazine, complementing our online digital content, a review of the operating structure and preserving our cash position.”

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