No. 7 in a 67-part series: The Czech Republic – 18 years of free papers
Metro Prague (Metro International) was the first international Metro launch outside Sweden in July 1997. In January 2006, local editions (Moravia & Bohemia) were launched. 60% of the shares were sold in December 2007 to competitor Mafra, owned by German publisher Rheinische Post. RP later increased its share.
Swis publisher Ringier launched 24 Hodin (24 hours) in Prague in November 2005. Ringier also publishes tabloid Blesk, a Sunday paper and two sports papers. Ringier is active in five Eastern European countries. 24 Hodin closed December 2008.
The crowded market saw a third free daily launched in 2006: Metropolitní Expres by Mafra (owned by German publisher Rheinische Post), also publisher of Mlada fronta Dnes and Lidove Noviny. The paper ceased publication April 2008 when it merged with the Czech Metro.
Kuryr Praha (by local investors) launched in April 2006. Kuryr did not survive the summer, the paper changed to a weekly but ceased publication soon afterwards.
In November 2007 free business paper E15 was launched in Prague by Mlada Fronta. Distribution is directly to businesses, office centers, hotels, universities, and government buildings while it will also be available in trains and at the airport. Later it expanded to Brno and Ostrava. Mlada Fronta publishes more than 20 magazines in the Czech Republic.
In the Czech Republic free dailies have a market share of ±25 percent.