Italy, the exception?

While in all over Europe free newspaper circulation is declining and titles or editions close down, Italy seems to be the exception to this rule. There are still six national free papers distributed in major markets, while apart from that some local models are published.

Metro started in 2000 and now publishes 7 editions in Italy with a circulation of 850,000. The edition in Bergamo (launched in 2006), however, was closed down last year.

Leggo (Caltagirone, paid paper Il Messaggero) started  a year later and is present in  12 Italian markets with a circulation of more than a million.

Later in 2001 City (rcs media group, Corrière della Sera) started in Milan and Rome – now the paper is published with a circulation of 850,000 in 9 markets.

In 2006 a fourth national paper was introduced: E Polis, a free/pad model by Sardinian media owner Niki Grauso who already operated Il Sardegna in his home market, and expanded that model in 13 markets. The group, however, faced financial difficulties and was taken over by new owners. Circulation was cut down, but in 2008 three new editions in Torino, Bari and Palermo were launched. Total circulation is more than 500,000.

Also in 2006, financial paper Il Solo 24 Ore, started free afternoon paper 24minuti in Rome and Milan, with a total circulation of 450,000.

And finally, in January 2008, former employees of E Polis started DNews, in four markets: Rome, Milan, Bergamo and Verona. The paper claims a circulation of 800,000.

Circulation data, however, should be treated with care as it is not officially audited in Italy. Most national models, for instance, don’t publish during the summer holiday, meaning that their average circulation is somewhat lower than the daily circulation. Total free circulation in Italy is probably around 4.5 million. Paid circulation is one million higher.

Also some local models survive, although information on these titles is sometimes missing.

In Verona, Brescia and Vicenza free local paper InCitta is published, also Trieste had a local paper under that name but this last title probably closed down.

The RCS media group (Corrière della Sera) started their Anteprima afternoon paper in Milan with a circulation of 120,000 – recent information on this title is not available.

In Piano di Sorrento free daily PrimoPiano was launched in 2006 but also here there is not further information.

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