Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dog's Dinner

London Lite hit the streets yesterday and underwhelmed to the point of stupefaction.

One of my biggest problems with the Evening Standard is that it suffers from thinking it's a national newspaper and not a paper for London, which Londoners actually want.

London Lite suffers from the same problem, with a Standard-like splash about mobile phones on planes. It's a very average story (errr it made page 21 of The Sun this morning, Page 13 of The Guardian), but if you picked up the paper yesterday it could have come from anywhere. London, Dublin or Manchester. It doesn't jump out and say London. Even in August there must be something happening.

It's a poor front page that not only has a poor splash, but the furniture around it is all a bit of a mess. It doesn't shout new, hip and London. It hardly shouts at all.

None of it looks very new. It all looks a little tired and borrowed. Actually, what it is, is that it looks pretty much like Standard Lite and, while I know, it was rushed it's a pretty disappointing debut.

Inside it feels like the Standard and there's even a crafty nod to Richard Desmond with its London Eye gossip pages.

Desmond was going to call his much-talked-of paper from a couple years ago London-i.

Not only is London Lite short on ideas, but the pages all look familiar from elsewhere. The London Eye looks like the Londoner's Diary in the Standard with a bit of the tedious Friday Standard magazine thrown in.

I know that it can't help looking like this in a news-light month like August, but this effort will not only leave readers underwhelmed, it’s going to leave them a little confused. It's like they previously picked up the Standard Lite and now have something that looks like the Standard Lite, but is purple.

Is there any way you can change the colour? Oh well not to worry. I'm sure someone liked it.

On the plus side it is free as various people have said, but simply because it's free is that an excuse to offer yet another version of the Daily Mail lite several times diluted (Daily Mail to Evening Standard, to Standard Lite and to London Lite).

Overall, I think it will disappoint its core female audience of busy young London women and, worse, I think it is also a bit of a male turn-off. I know ad revenue is important, but with no sport on the back page blokes are going to be picking it up flicking to the back and quickly binning the thing.

Having seen Associated Newspapers misfire and trip out of the starting gate, the way is open for News International's thelondonpaper to show that it can produce a product that grabs people's attention, that makes them sit up, rather than leave the paper on the Tube or the bus exactly where they found it.


At 3:37 PM, Anonymous The Publican of Print said...

although the ads they're running on BR are great Gordie!


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