The London Evening Standard will today be delivered to homes in London for the first time in its 193-year history.
Newspapers will be delivered to people living in neighbourhoods in zone one, two or three in London as the newspaper adjusts to commuters staying away from the City in light of the spread of covid-19.
The decision to deliver the paper directly to homes comes after the paper, which normally publishes 800,000 copies a day, saw its circulation drop to an average of 642,000 copies a day over four days as people stay at home amid government advice to avoid non-essential contact and travel to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Ahead of distribution later today, the Standard’s Editor George Osborne said that the paper was ready to stand with Londoners amid the crisis.
Writing on Twitter he said, “Today’s @EveningStandard will be delivered free to hundreds of thousands of homes in London. We’re also putting many more copies in supermarkets. Many of you can’t travel and pick up a copy; so we’re coming to you. We stood with London in the Blitz; we stand with London today.”
In an email to staff on Friday, chief executive Mike Soutar said that in common with the paper’s office, many Londoners were now working from home and, as a result, a new service was required.
He wrote: “Given the changed dynamics of where our readers now are, we have been working hard on a unique service for Londoners which will allow the Standard to still reach the commuters who normally would have been picking up their copies in zone one but who are now working from home.
“As well as up-weighting the volumes of copies into essential retailers, we will be launching a unique new home delivery service this Monday.
For the first time in its history the Evening Standard will be distributed directly to people’s houses in 26 neighbourhoods in zone two and three he said.
“From Hampstead to Bethnal Green, Brixton to Hammersmith, Swiss Cottage to Greenwich, our vans and delivery teams will home deliver hundreds of thousands of copies every single day.”
Mr Soutar added that going forward “we will be targeting 500,000 copies per day which we believe is an appropriate scale in the circumstances and is still considerably larger than anything serving London’s readers”.
“In the context of currently lower advertising volumes, it makes good economic sense too.”
There will also be more copies of the newspaper put into suburban supermarkets where there has been a “notable” increase in people picking it up, he added.