Media world watching as Standard goes free

London's Evening Standard became a free newspaper today.

The media world will be closely monitoring the paper's progress as it adjusts to life after abandoning its 50p cover price.

Evening Standard bosses made the switch to boost circulation from 250,000 to more than 600,000.

Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev, who bought the paper from the publisher of the Daily Mail, believes other newspapers will follow suit.

The newspaper had been under increased pressure from free newspapers in the city in the past few years, although one of these, thelondonpaper, recently closed.

Mr Lebedev, chairman of Evening Standard Ltd, has said doubling the paper's circulation and "maintaining its quality journalism" is what London deserves.

"The Standard has been producing exceptional journalism since 1827 and that is not going to change under my ownership," he added.

"The London Evening Standard is the first leading quality newspaper to go free and I am sure others will follow."

Editor Geordie Greig said the decision was an "historic moment" as owners made the paper available to "more Londoners than ever before".

He added: "The Standard has an exciting and secure future with this new, pioneering strategy of more than doubling our distribution.

"I also want the paper to continue being a cheerleader for London, the greatest city in the world. We will celebrate where we can but also criticise and expose those who are not doing what is best for London and Londoners."

The paper was launched in 1827 by businessman Charles Baldwin.

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