Expansion plans for 20 Minutes
French free daily 20 Minutes plans a massive expansion in 2011. The paper wants to distribute in 20 more cities, starting in March of this year.
With the new editions, 20 Minutes will be available in 32 French cities, the new markets will be announced shortly.
20 Minutes now has a circulation of 800,000 and a readership of 2.7 million. Metro follows with 2.4 million readers (circulation 750,000). Both papers distribute in 12 markets.
Third paper is Direct/Plus with a total circulation of 700,000 and 1.7 million readers. In Paris evening paper Direct Soir distributes 360,000 copies for 1 million readers.
Metro and it’s partner TF1 (34.5% shareholder) have increased the capital for Metro France, also to support expansion and to invest in content according to L’Express.
In his Monday Note blog, ex-20 Minutes editor Frédéric Filloux asked in his most recent blog what the future of French free newspapers would be, as the market seems to be saturated, while Bolloré’s Direct papers burn money without him caring too much (but spoiling the market for others at the same time).
Filloux also asked whether the increased smartphone use could harm free dailies, as more people use these as past-time activity. Maybe the expansion plans of the frees in France are just an answer to that.