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Backed by unnamed investors and named The London Weekly, the freesheet is set to be, as one might glean from its title, a weekly paper distributed in London, and is angling itself, in a statement somewhat at odds with reality, as the "only free newspaper in London covering light entertainment, gossip, politics, health, music and fashion". A print-run of 250,000 will be distributed outside Tube and rail stations on Fridays and Saturdays, as the proprietors attempt to muscle in on the weekend, hitherto a backwater for freebie titles, and a market currently dominated by traditional paid-for papers, many of whom register their best sales on a Saturday.
While specialist titles such as Sport, Shortlist and Stylist have proved successful in recent years, the last time a weekly free London-only title launched was in 2005, when The London Line appeared; it closed by the year's end, and is little remembered by Londoners, aside from the pigeons who converted the specially-installed boxes around the capital into nests.
In a busy year for the struggling industry, we've already lost the London Lite and the London Paper, welcomed a new editor to the Standard, which promptly went through a confusing ad campaign, a comprehensive re-design, and, finally, abandoned its cover price entirely. Seeing a gap in such changeable conditions, the London Weekly will aim itself at a market segment vacated by the defunct titles, and is planning to charge similar ad rates. It's to be hoped it doesn't follow in the same sub-standard, 'sleb-obsessed, journalistic gutters that its antecendents waded in; as Stewart Brand almost said: "Information wants to be free, but it doesn't have to stink".