Free dailies in Portugal

Apart from Italy (see yesterday’s post), Metro International also plans to sell the Portuguese operation totally or in part. Portugal is almost as competitive as Italy, but with ‘only’ four general free papers competing. Free dailies in Portugal still have the majority of the newspaper market (paid circulation in 2008 and 2009 are estimates).

Destak, formerly a free weekly, and Metro (owned by Metro International for 65%) started both at the end of 2004 with editions in Lisbon, in 2005 both papers launched in Porto as well (click on graph for bigger view).

In 2006 free business paper OJE was launched while sports paper Diário Desportivo started in the beginning of 2007 – the sports paper closed down after a few months already.

In June 2007 ‘quality’ paper Meia Hora was launched by Cofina, also publisher of Destak and of paid paper Correio da Manha.

In September 2007 a fourth national general free paper launched: Global Notícias, by Controlinveste, publisher of paid papers Diario de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias, 24 Horas and O Jogo (sports).

In this very competitive market Metro is now competing with three papers that are backed up by publishers of paid papers. With the recession being felt very strongly in Portugal – a sale or merger seems to be inevitable.

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