10 years Fréttablaðið
Icelandic free daily Frettabladid celebrated its 10th anniversary last month. The paper was the newspaper with the highest circulation in the country from the day on it was launched in April 2001. Except for Frettabladid two paid newspapers are published in the country: quality paper Morgunbladid (launched in 1913) and tabloid paper DV.
Frettabladid’s history almost ended in 2003 when the publisher went bankrupt. The title was bought by investor Baugur, also owner of the largest supermarket chain in the country. Circulation increased to more than 100,000 while distribution was expanded to 7 days a week. Page count was often more than a 100.
Baugur was connected to investor Dagsbrun (365media) who launched free newspapers in Denmark (Nyhedsavisen 2006-2008) and Boston (Boston Now 2007-2008).
In 2005 the paper got competition from free paper Bladid, later relaunched as 24Stundir, that was like Frettabladid distributed door-to-door in the capital Reykjavik.
Dagsbrun’s investments suffered from the economic crisis that resulted in the sale of Nyhedsavisen, the closure of Boston now and the merger of Frettabladid and Bladid in 2008.
365Media was for a short time a minority shareholder but now controls the paper again.
In November the former editor of Frettabladid, Jón Kaldal, launched a free weekly compatitor: Frettamin.
Frettabladid is now published 6 days a week, and with a somewhat lower circulation (90,000) as stopped distribution in more remote places and cut down on door-to-door distribution. Page count is still often above 50 pages.