No. 8 in a 67-part series: Denmark – a country gone crazy

urban 2009In the three weeks between August 14 and September 4, 2006, no less than five new free newspaper titles were launched in Denmark. Some of the titles launched several editions while existing titles increased the number of editions – in total 12 new editions were launched during those three weeks.

A country gone crazy.

The start for this crazyness was the announcement of Icelandic publisher Dagsbrunn that they would launch quality free newspaper Nyhedavisen, with 36-pages at least, 6-days-a-week, door-to-door delivered, covering all Denmark with three editions and employing more than a 100 journalists.

Existing publishers reacted by launching 24timer (4 editions, JP Politiken), Dato (Berlingske), Centrum Morgen and Centrum Aften (Nordjyllands Avisselskab, replacing 10 Minutter, a local paper in Aalborg that started in 2002).


The two existing papers reacted as well. Metro launched an afternoon edition, Urban a national edition. Most papers went to door-to-door distribution.

Within two years – and after millions of losses – it was over. In 2014 only one title remains.

  • Nyhedsavisen owner Dagsbrunn sold 51% to Morten Lund (Skype) for 1 Dkr, but the paper closed down anyway in September 2008. It lost 420m Danish crowns (€56m) in 2007 alone. Total debts at closing date were €7m al least. At that time, howere, Nyhedsavisen was still the best-read paper in Denmark.
  • Dato had already closed down in April 2007.
  • metroXpress_201324 timer closed one edition in 2007, merged the Odense edition with local free daily Xtra in 2007, closed it in 2008. Also in Arhus a merged edition (with JPArhus+) was closed down (2009). The two remaining editions were sold to Metro in 2008 and closed in 2013. Publisher JP Politiken acquired 24.5% in Metro.
  • The Metro evening lasted only three months.
  • Urban merged four local editions with the new national edition, but closed this edition in 2009 anyway. In January 2012 Urban – launched in 2001 closed down in total.
  • Metro, the only remaning paper, was sold to Swiss publisher Tamedia (of 20 Minuten) and totally re-branded.

Denmark had also one business free paper: ErhvervsBladet, free from 2004 to 2006.

In 2007 the market share of free newspapers was more than 60% , in 2013 this dropped to less than 30%.


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