Newspaper sales figures for the end of 2004 are out and it's critical news for The Standard (if you listen very carefully you can hear us chuckling and rubbing our hands in glee).
The Standard's circulation went down by more than 6% from November. That's a loss of around 23,000 readers, bringing the total circulation to around 350,000 copies. (If you listen very carefully indeed you might just be able to hear us breaking out the champagne and party poppers).
The main reason for the drop seems to be the launch of Associated Newspaper's free Standard Lite edition, which was launched in the middle of the month, with the intention of 'boosting' the Standard's sales. (If you listen extremely carefully you should just be able to make out the sound of us booking our plane tickets to Rio where we will be staging a week long party in celebration of the Standard's continuing decline.)
And, of course, as we reported earlier this week, the Standard's sister paper: The Metro has now lost its exclusive deal with the London Underground and will probably have to go head to head with whatever Richard Desmond comes up with. And there's even some speculation that the Standard may end up becoming a free paper itself.
Would free still be too much to pay for The Standard?