Monday, March 22, 2010

Evening Standards

Oh Geordie Greig, what have you done to the Evening Standard? It's as thin as Kate Moss, and it's as difficult to get hold of after 6pm as a Virgin customer services agent. It must have seemed a good idea at the time to go free, but some of us would like our old paper back and be quite happy to pay 50p for it.

Seriously, I reckon that on two or three days a week I just cannot get hold of a copy. Presumably they don't print as many, or the distribution is up the spout.

Londoner's Diary, which always used to be a good place to read political gossip, is now as obsessed by celebrities as any other gossip column, while the number of columnists no one has ever heard of seems to increase by the week.

The main redeeming factor is the paper's political coverage, which is sharp as ever. Joe Murphy and Paul Waugh are the best around, but I sense that they struggle to get as many stories in the paper as they used to, as they compete for space in the vastly reduced pagination.

Change is always difficult in the world of newspapers. We all like what we're used to, I suppose.

But when I get the train home of an evening I want to know that I'll actually be able to get a copy of the paper and also that when I do get a copy I'll feel it is worth reading.

At the moment, neither is true.

17 comments:

Raedwald said...

Likewise, I was quite happy paying 50p for the West End Final but now by the time I get to the station the free-bin is empty.

Not only is the format thin, but the centre page supplements are dire; Makeup and frocks on Monday, Shagging and clubbing on Tuesdays, Other peoples houses on Wednesday and so on, with mini competitions to identify new venereal diseases, or product testing to find which ladies shoes are most resistant to vomit.

Scrobs... said...

Iain, do you really need the evening papers?

I only ask, because these days, anyone who is after real news, (not celeb rubbish), will have all those external contacts bombarding their circle of friends by the minute, and taking up all the time which would normally be used for flicking through the rags on the train to TW.

At the Scrobs Turrets, we only read papers online now, The Metro in the morning, and The Standard in the evening (if we can get them, as you describe), but really, there's a bit too much puffy information flooding around at the moment, so why don't you just relax a bit, enjoy the bit near Tonbridge where we all nearly take off, and pick up on the dry press when you get home!

You know it makes sense!

Unsworth said...

You can get it on line - if you can be bothered. Frankly it has lost its edge.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I used to be a regular buyer (although that tailed off when they dropped 'Hot Tickets' in favour of the Sleb/ Upper class obsessed ES Magazine)

But now I have only seen it on rare occasions since it went free and my brother brings one home from 'town'

Still it's my own fault for living out in the sticks in the London Borough of Bexley

Frugal Dougal said...

maybe the freemium model only works on the net?

Magical_Mist said...

"Seriously, I reckon that on two or three days a week I just cannot get hold of a copy."

I'm with you there, Iain.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Thank the Lords of the Net, then, that Paul Waugh is available on line. Even so, I question whether he should obsess so over the when rather than the what (like Benedict Brogan) or the why (as Michael White does) of the Immaculate Conception. About all that's left is the "how". I guess I could pass on that one.

We haven't seen the Standard here in distant Muswell Hill these many weeks. Bins were strategically placed, but their only use is detritus. Has there been a drastic cut in the print-run?

On the other hand, whenever I venture out the Long Acre exit of Leicester Square tube, there are guys desperate to rid of bushels.

Unsworth said...

@ Pavlov's Cat

The Bexley Wildernesses, then?

Best viewed from the comparative safety of the A2 - at 50 mph, of course.

Thatsnews said...

Running a successful freesheet is not as easy as it might first appear.

Thin publication = lack of advertising revenue.

I Squiggle said...

If I recall at the time, the justification for going free was to distribute more copies, and hence get more ad revenue. In which case why is the window of distribution so narrow? You could buy the ES from midayish till late. Now I struggle to get a copy at City Thameslink before 5.15 and forget it after 6.30. I ponder their business model, and I guess advertisers will too. It’s shrunk, its pap, and I’d willingly pay 50p for a decent evening paper.

WV: poough

Mark said...

Come to Holborn; the Standard is given out at Chancery Lane and Kingsway and every 10 yards between. It’s also stacked up on the bus stops along Grays Inn Road. I agree that it’s lost its way though.

Shamik said...

Matthew D'Ancona and Anne McElvoy are ace! But you're right, some days it is nigh on impossible to get hold of a copy.

norman said...

Can't understand how so many Russian billionnaires emerge recently (are they all KGBs helping themselves with the State cash, and why they are all heading towards UK trying to buy Fcs and newspapers?). The Russian who owns the Evening Standard can't keep this paper going free for ever. It is of the same standard as the Times which is competing with tabloids for sensationalism. Wonder when the Independent and DT are going to be owned by the KGB comrades.
I hear more Russian language these days in Oford St. I wonder.

The King of Wrong said...

Strange... I usually have no problems getting a Standard at 18:15-18:30.

There are people handing them out, and racks full of papers, at King's Cross (which is also usually a good description of my mood!) when I get there.

There's clearly a market there, though, for people who want their papers guaranteed - perhaps a newsagent should run a reservation service? Or the publisher to do home delivery?

Actually, don't they already do that? I seem to remember there being adverts on Friday for how you could ensure you got your ES magazine...

norman said...

ES is given out only in a few places in London. Stacks of them kept near Russeel Sq tube Station, in Euston Station etc.. But very difficult to find them if one looks for them after 7\;00 in the evening. Not many seem to want them. The paper is not interesting to read, as not much in there.

The King of Wrong said...

Idea: a big rack of little ES-branded pigeonholes near the entrance to the stations. If you want a paper, you put a £1 coin in and take the key/token/whatever before say 5pm. ES guys come along and fill the pigeonholes with papers (and take the cash) using a master key.

Then, no matter when you rock up at the station, you've a nice flat copy of the ES waiting for you. Possibly 50p change, too, so the paper isn't too pricey and there's a deposit on the key to keep too many from walking.

Just a question of the size of the market...

Lopa Patel said...

I've taken to buying a reserved copy of the Evening Standard at our local newsagents, if only for the Sudoku. The time delay also means some of the columnists don't appear online for days!