Free in Russia

As I reported earlier, Metro has been (or still is) considering an entrance in the Moscow market. This was confirmed by a official 2008 report: “the Russian Periodical Press Market – Situation, Trends and Prospects” from the “Federal Agency for the Press and Mass Communications / Periodical Press, Book Publishing and Printing Department”. (The page is in Russian, but there is an English version of the report.)

The report stated that Metro International (already publishing a Metro franchise in St. Petersburg) is exploring a possible joint venture with the publishers of Komsomolskaya Pravda to publish a free paper handed out at subway entrances. Komsomolskaya Pravda recently (see previous post) started with publishing their Monday edition for free. If a ‘Metro Pravda’ would be published in Moscow, it would be the third free daily in Moscow.

Another Metro (formerly by AFK Sistema, now controlled by Moscow Subway / City Council) started in 1997, and moved in 2003 to semi-weekly in the Russian capital. In 2005 it expanded to four days a week, while it distributes MetroLife, a TV-magazine with a focus on lifestyle and celebrities on the fifth day. The paper has a circulation of 600,000. It is distributed in more than a hundred subway stations and through supermarkets. Metro cooperates with other local weeklies on advertising deals.

Since 1992 there is also the English language Moscow Times, distributed free to hotels and businesses, although also subscriptions are possible. This paper is now owned by the Finnish Sanoma Group.

The market of free weeklies in Russia seems more crowded. In the “Periodical Press Market Situation” it is stated that:

“the free-distribution press market in Russia was the fastest growing sector in 2077 as consumer demand for it grew and attracted more and more advertisers.”

Norwegian Schibsted is publishing free weekly Moi Rayon in St. Petersburg and Moscow with a total circulation of almost one million. (Founder Grigory Kunis who sold the paper to Schibsted was interviewed on this project by Open News – in Russian, but ‘Google translate’ works excellent.)

Also Extra M is published in Moscow. It used to focus on classified advertising only, but is now a more general free paper. The paper was already launched in 1992 with a circulation of 500,000. It was distributed to households, in 2002 it started distributing at subway stations as well.

Weekly Center Plus is the most important Moscow classified newspaper (In St. Petersburg there is also a free Center Plus, but by a different publisher). To make things even more confusing in terms of using the ‘Metro’ name, there is a weekly Metro as well in Moscow.

Also in Yekaterinburg, Murmansk, Omsk and Vladivostok free weeklies started in 2006 and 2007. (Entry made with help from Moscow.)

One Response to “Free in Russia”

  1. Newspaper Innovation » Blog Archive » Metro franchise in Moscow Says:

    [...] Metro International has formed a joint venture with ESN Group to acquired a stake in free daily Gazeta Metro, the most read free newspaper in Moscow. (see also previous post.) [...]