Four years of Heute/Blick am Abend
On May 15 2006, Swiss publisher Ringier launched ‘heute’, a free evening paper competing with the morning market leader 20 Minuten. Two years later, May 30 2008, the paper closed down. From the ashes rose Blick am Abend, a new more agressive format, and moreover, a paper using the name of Ringier’s flagship Blick, the leading paid (tabloid) paper in the country.
Heute’s circulation was 235,000 in 2006; the circulation of Blick am Abend rose to 260,000 with extra editions in St. Gallen and Luzern (apart from Zurich, Berne and Basle).
In terms of readership the growth was more spectacular, with Heute reaching never more than 290,000 readers, Blick am Abend increased readership to more than 400,000 in the latest WMEF research.
Celebrating the fourth anniversary of Swiss publisher Ringier’s attempt to penetrate the market of free evening papers, Persoenlich interviewed editor in chief Peter Röthlisberger.
Röthlisberger is happy about the development of readership, but not with the amount of advertising in the free evening paper: “we’re not there yet”. Persoenlich calculated a 17% drop in advertising in Q1 2010 (94 pages of ads in three months, 1.5 per day) compared to the previous year.
The integration between the paid paper, the Sunday paper and the websites, however, is working very well for Blick am Abend as it profits from the strong brandname. Both papers also profit from joint advertising deals.
According to Röthlisberger, the circulation is now around 350,000 (last official number was 225,000 – before the launch in St. Gallen and Luzern), with 2% not being picked up. Many papers, however, are picked up only the next day according to Persoenlich, when the paper is lying next to free morning paper 20 Minuten, the only competitor (in 2008 there were six free dailies competing).