When The Shadow described saying no to the "poor, hapless critters" holding out Sydney's free newpaper mX, I had the idea that they were more pushy than their London equivalents. Now it has been revealed that thelondonpaper distributors don't need to be pushy, as they just dump the excess papers in gutters or bins, bumping up circulation figures.
Video footage of papers being dumped was shown on tv news the other night (also on YouTube), having been released by Associated Newspapers, the publishers of thelondonpaper's rivals, the Metro and London Lite. News International, thelondonpaper's publisher's parent company*, retaliated with pictures of London Lite being abandoned, seriously bringing into question the use of flooding the capital with 900,000 free afternoon papers each day.
It is an utter waste of paper, even if in one case the dumper deposited his unread rags in a recycling bin. The freesheets' certified circulation figures, based on the number of paper's distributed, and quite important to them, as they draw in the advertising revenue. So thelondonpaper's relatively recent increase of 100,000 in print run size probably has benefited them if not any readers or the environment.
I have to wonder at the logic behind using these sort of circulation figures, though. I don't commute, but in my experience when traveling on the tube or bus there are often free papers lying around, waiting to be picked up. I would think each paper is read more than once. There definitely isn't a need for more copies.
*Murdoch's News International is also the parent company of the publishers of The Times, in which the reasonably fair article I linked to appeared in. Not what you'd expect from some Murdoch papers. Then again, it was funny to see the issue discussed next to an ad for thelondonpaper.com.