Metro Belgium in 10th year

metroBe_XmasIn October 2010, the free Metro newspaper in Belgium will celebrate its 10th anniversary. It was launched on October 3 in Brussels with different Dutch and French editions. Circulation increased from 160,000 to 290,000 in 2009. Readership went from 250,000 in the beginning to almost 900,000 in 2009.

To celebrate the anniversary, publisher Concentra offers several specials for advertisers in the paper for 2010. The special Metro edition for advertisers contained two double broadsheet fold-outs for advertisers with all promotions listed, among these are free 2nd ads for special formats, 50% discount in the October glossy Metro Deluxe, online game sponsoring, and partnerships in a photo-contest.

The special advertisers edition also contained a of the history of the paper, and an interview with the Metro management (CEO, Concentra chairman, editor, marketing and sales). A visit to Stockholm, and the success of the free Metro there in 1995, inspired the Concentra management (inspired also to do something themselves before Metro International would launch in Belgium I suppose).

In 1998 the publisher began to make plans for the paper after consulting with Associated Newspapers in London (who also wanted to beat Metro International), who planned a free daily as well. In 1999 a free daily was published in the Netherlands by incumbent publisher De Telegraaf (Spits) in competition with Metro that was launched the same day. In Belgium Metro was launched 16 months after that, the reasons for this delay was the national roll-out and the two language versions.

Incumbent publishers try to start legal procedures against the paper while a angry news stand owner even had a dead rat delivered to the Metro offices.

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