In October Dutch free daily Spits will close after more than 15 years. Some of the contents will be merged into competitor Metro, also owned by Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG).
Metro and Spits both were launched on June 21 1999.
After TMG bought Metro in 2012, it tried to target the two titles at different audiences. Metro would be more ‘newsy’ and serious, aimed at a somewhat more mature audience; Spits would contain more sports and entertainment and target a younger audience.
As distribution was still at the same places (public transport mostly) this strategy did not work out. Spits had also troubles because it was forced to close already at 21.00 every night, so it missed some of the sports news.
TMG has a franchise contract with Metro International so closing Metro would result in a fine for TMG.
At the same time the publisher combined distribution, sales and the editorial departments – the two brands had one editor in chief.
Apparentely the move has not succeeded, Metro is going to be the only remaining free paper, following a trend visible in other European countries where competition is substituted by monopoly.
The website of Spits will remain.
TMG says it will increase the circulation to more than 500.000 in 2015.