Metro in the French newspaper war

Metro_Paris_2012Commercial broadcaster TF1, the new owner of Metro France, will invest more than one million Euro in the paper, expand to 20 new markets and expects to break even in two years.

The paper will not increase the print run of 760,000 but reallocate 15 to 20% of the copies to new markets. The number of editions will go from 15 to 35 according to new director Edouard Boccon-Gibod in La Tribune.

In 2012 the paper expects a two-digit growth, partly because of synergies with TF1. There are, however, no plans to integrate editorial departments. There are now 115 people working for Metro, 43 of them journalists.

Boccon-Gibod accused former (majority) owner Metro International of not investing enough in the paper. One of the results is that Metro is far lagging behind 20 Minutes when it comes to visitors for the website.

La Tribune revealed also that Bolloré made an offer for the shares of Metro last summer. Martin Bouygues, owner of the Bouygues company that controls TF1, however, did not want his rival and enemy Vincent Bolloré to get hold of Metro. TF1 as minority shareholder had the first rights to buy the remaining stock and matched Bolloré’s offer.

Also 20 Minutes has announced to expand their market, although this will be accompanied by increasing the circulation.

In France total circulation increased from 2.3 million in 2009 to 2.6 million in 2010 and to 3.2 million in 2011.

In March, Metro France will also move to a smaller format and introduce a more colorful design. The smaller format resembles that of competitors 20 Minutes and Direct Matin. Also the Metro editions in the Czech Republic and Hungary use the smaller (half-Berliner) format.

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