July 18th, 2014
In October Dutch free daily Spits will close after more than 15 years. Some of the contents will be merged into competitor Metro, also owned by Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG).
Metro and Spits both were launched on June 21 1999.
After TMG bought Metro in 2012, it tried to target the two titles at different audiences. Metro would be more ‘newsy’ and serious, aimed at a somewhat more mature audience; Spits would contain more sports and entertainment and target a younger audience.
As distribution was still at the same places (public transport mostly) this strategy did not work out. Spits had also troubles because it was forced to close already at 21.00 every night, so it missed some of the sports news.
TMG has a franchise contract with Metro International so closing Metro would result in a fine for TMG.
At the same time the publisher combined distribution, sales and the editorial departments – the two brands had one editor in chief.
Apparentely the move has not succeeded, Metro is going to be the only remaining free paper, following a trend visible in other European countries where competition is substituted by monopoly.
The website of Spits will remain.
TMG says it will increase the circulation to more than 500.000 in 2015.
June 17th, 2014
The soccer World Championship is celebrates by most free dalies in the countries that participate. On this Pinterst page some examples are collected.
The Belgium Metro does ad an extra gimmick. On every day the Belgium team plays (three day at least, starting today), all Metro will have the national flag painted on the outside fold.
This is best seen when they are stacked in their boxes.
On the Pinterst site the Dutch and French language papers are also pictured in the front view.
The e-papers can be read here.
May 29th, 2014
Olivier Bonsart, director of French free daily 20 Minutes (Schibsted and Sipa-Ouest France) not only thinks that there are toon many free dailies in France, he is also talking with his colleagues from Metro (owned by TF1) and Direct Matin (Bolloré and local publishers) about merging operations.
Bonsart confirmed this at a press conference. There is nothing decided yet but there a official talks between the owners.
The three dailies had losses of 18 million in 2013. The situation with three dailies in one country, each with a national coverage, is unique in Europe.
In June or the beginning of July 20 Minutes will also launch a new website. (CB News)
May 26th, 2014
The integration of the Metro UK digital brand into the digital operation of the Daily Mail (see previous post) has not paid off in terms of more visitors.
According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Metro reported a 15% fall in monthly unique browsers in April.
The number of monthly visitors is now 23 million, stil an impresive number, sverage daily browsers fell 10% to just over one million.
London Evening Standard’s site, Standard.co.uk, saw monthly traffic grow to 5 million. Daily average browsers rose to 236,689. (The Guardian)
May 11th, 2014
After 7 years the curtain falls for free daily Zurnal24 in Slovenia. The paper was launched in the fall of 2007 in 5 editions: Lubliana, Primorska, Gorenjska, Dolenjska en Stajerska.
The paper, owned by Austrian media group Styria, had a circulation of more than 100,000 and claimed a daily readerhip of 239,000. Also the weekly Zurnal and the website zurnal24.si will close down.
The owner says that it has not succeeded in making the papers profitable. And with the weak economy they don’t expect that it wil be profitable in the near future.
Around 50 people will be affected by the closure.
Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung wrote that the papers made several millions of losses every year, in total more than € 40 million.
April 20th, 2014
Austrian free daily Heute saw its online reach increase with 12% compared to March 2013.
Accoding to Österreichische Web-Analyse (ÖWA) reached Heute in Marchz 2014 4.,056,000 Unique users, an increase of 120 % compared to last year.
Heute has 6 different portals (see right): news, tv & cinema, tickets & events, fitness, a “Groupon” like portal and health. (OTS)
April 11th, 2014
The annual report 2013 of Norwegian mediahouse Schibsted revealed that the 20 Minutes operations in Spain and France are still losing money.
In 2013 this amounted to 37 million NOK (€4.5 million), thanks to cost cutting this was les than in 2013 (48 million NOK).
In Spain the economic situation is still a major problem, 20 Minutos is still the market leader in newspapers.
In France there is fierce competition between three free dailies: 20 Minutes, Metro and DirectMatin. Publishers are thinking about merging titles.
April 5th, 2014
Swiss free newspaper 20 Minuten is not only the best-read paper in the country – and the paper with the highest circulation, but also the most succesful Swiss online paper.
20 Minuten never bothered about cannibaliztion and embraced (and invested in) online from the start. The paper has a fully integrated print/online newsroom, and has a “web first” strategy.
Swiss media website Persoenlich contained an interview (in German) with 20 Minuten editor Marco Boselli: “Die Rock’n'Roll-Band unter den Medien”.
Subjects: the integrated newsroom, the use of interns, copy/paste journalism, service-journalism, apps, magazines and profits:
“Ich kenne die Rentabilitäten anderer Tageszeitungen leider nicht. Aber ja, es läuft uns gut, und wir leisten sicher einen schönen Beitrag an die Zahlen von Tamedia.”
April 5th, 2014
Metro Ireland launched a new website: GoMetro, aimed a commuters.
Apart from ‘regular’ news, there are special sections for people using busses, cars or train. (AdWorld)
April 5th, 2014
Six members from the Israeli parliament, representing different parties (Labor, Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi, Hatnua, Shas and Yesh Atid), have proposed a bill that would, in their words “strengthen written journalism in Israel and ensure equal and fair conditions of competition between newspapers”.
Eitan Cabel (labor) said that “Free newspapers also hurt journalism as well as pluralism and democracy in Israel.”
The bill is complicated, it “applies only to the four newspapers with the highest circulation (…) The lowest-priced newspaper of the four cannot cost less than 70 percent of the second-lowest-priced paper.”
It is clearly aimed at Israel Today, the largest (and free) newspaper in the country that supports Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Post)