Major changes in Switzerland

In the coming months, the Swiss print media will see some major changes. Leading paid tabloid Blick (Ringier) will go through another concept change, free sister-paper Blick-am-Abend will launch two new editions, the competition between free dailies in the western French speaking part will cease to be while leading free daily 20 Minuten will target more local markets.

First Blick, once the leading paper in Switzerland, now second in circulation and readership after Tamedia’s 20 Minuten. The paper moved to a small half-Berliner format less than two years ago, with the extra feature of an integrated sports section at the back printed upside down. The reader had to turn the paper over to read it. One of the hidden features was that the paper now could not been shared between family members.

This non-sharing of the paper will be ended in October as Blick will go back to its older format and will print in different sections.

In July publisher Ringier announced some major personal changes as well. Blick-director Thomas Passen stepped down and was succeeded by Caroline Thoma, formerly the director of the now defunct free daily .ch. Bernhard Weissberg, formerly editor of the Sunday paper and free daily Heute, stepped down as editor in chief of Blick. A successor is not yet appointed according to Persoenlich.

The basic problem of Blick is that it not only feels competition from 20 Minuten but also from its own free evening paper Blick-am-Abend, which is more succesful than its predecessor Heute, but does not make any money (in contrast to 20 Minuten).

Blick-am-Abend will expand at the end of this month to two more local markets: Luzern and St. Gallen. Blick, Blick-am-Abend and Sontags-Blick will be integrated in one newsroom-model.

Free market leader 20 Minuten will introduce a local media portal for local communities, probably at the end of August, according to director Marcel Kohler in an interview in Persoenlich. It will also target smaller and local advertisers, thereby competing with local papers as well.

The last major change is the merger between French language free daily 20 Minutes and Le Matin Bleu, as a result of the merger between the two publishers Tamedia and Edipresse. The time frame is not yet certain as it waits the approval of the Swiss competition authorities.

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