Archive for the ‘Closures’ Category

The Times (SA) converts to paid

Monday, May 17th, 2010

thetimes.jpgFree South African daily The Times is converted from a free to a paid daily. The paper will be sold for R2 (€0.20), which is still less than the price of for instance the Citizen, that dropped its price from R4.5 to R3 in the recent South-African newspaper price war (, Greenslade).

The Times started in June 2007 as a free daily spin-off from paid paper The Sunday Times by Johnnic Communications (later in 2007 renamed as Avusa Media). Subscribers to the Sunday edition got the daily for free. Initial circulation was 120,000.

The Citizen (Caxton) started their own free newspaper Citizen Metro also in 2007, but this publication apparently closed down in 2008 or 2009.

update: Turkey

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

20dk2008In 2008 two free dailies launched in the Turkish capital Istanbul: Gaste (March) by independent publisher Free News and  one month later 20dk (20 minutes) by incumbent publisher Dohan Group (Hürriyet, Milliyet, Posta).

After one year Gaste closed down (see previous post). I missed, however, the closure of 20dk one month later. The paper claimed a circulation of around 200,000.

This means that after Estonia (2008), and the Ukraine and Lithuania (2009) also Turkey is without free dailies in 2010. Germany, that lost its last free daily SZ Primetime in 2009, now has another free daily: Welt Aktuell.

Free Estonian daily Linnaleht now weekly

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Checking the website of free Estonian daily Linnaleht revealed that the paper is still published but converted to a two-days-a-week paper in the beginning of 2009 and to a weekly in 2010. This means that the number of European countries with free dailies is now down to 29 (33 in 2008, also the Ukraine, Lithuania and Germany lost their last free dailies).

Linnaleht was a joint operation of Eesti Meedia (Schibsted) and Ekspress Group that both publish rivaling quality dailies: Postimees (EM) and Eesti Päevaleht (EG).

The paper was launched in December 2005 in two different language editions (Estonian and Russian) in the capital Tallinn, in 2007 an edition for Tartu was added, while a weekly version started in Pärnu in the same year. Total daily circulation was around 75,000.

The paper was published four days a week (not on Mondays). In January 2009 the Tuesday and Thursday edition were dropped. In April 2009 the Tartu edition went weekly as well. In January 2010 all editions were weekly only – published only on Fridays.

MEN cuts free distribution to two days

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

It is telling that the last blog entry this year concerns a closure, as the Manchester Evening News is limiting free distribution to only two days a week, and therefore is no longer a free daily newspaper.

It is the 33rd paper closing down this year – 22 of those in Europe. In 2008 also 33 titles closed down – but the 2009 score could be more as some paper might not return in the new year. Also there were very few launches this year, which resulted in a substantial drop in circulation, particularly in Europe.

The MEN started distributing a free ‘Lite’ edition in March 2005, with a circulation of only 10,000. After little more than one year, in April 2006, the experiment was ended.

Instead, MEN developed a paid/free model. In the city center, were the paper only sold a few thousand copies, distribution was free while in other areas the paper was paid. Free circulation increased from 50,000 in the first year to 80,000 in 2008. But at the same time, paid circulation dropped much more than expected.

With less advertising revenues because of the recession, MEN limited free distribution in April of this year on Monday to Wednesday, and increasing free distribution on Thursday and Friday to almost 90,000. No free papers were distributed on Saturdays.

From January on, the free distribution on the first three days of the week will be stopped altogether according to PaidContent.

The end of ‘NEWS’

Friday, December 4th, 2009

NEWS2009The free Swiss daily NEWS (Tamedia) closed down today, exactly two years after the launch on December 5 2007.

The paper was meant to protect the advertising market of Tamedia’s leading free daily 20 Minuten against free daily “.ch” that was launched in September 2007.

In May 2009 “.ch” closed down. One of the four NEWS editions closed already in December 2008 (also on December 5) while the Berne and Basle editions ended in August of this year. Left is the last Zurich edition.

With the closure there are three free dailies left in Switzerland: 20 Minuten / Minutes with seven different editions in German and French language Switzerland (circulation 700,000), Blick am Abend with five editions (260,000 copies) and local Basle free daily Baslerstab.

The last years several free papers closed down:

  • Tagblatt der Stadt Zürich, 1999-2003
  • Metropol (by Metro Interational), 2000-2002
  • Le Matin Bleu, 2005-2009
  • Heute, 2006-2008, succeeded by Blick am Abend
  • CASH, 2005-2009
  • “.ch” 2007-2009

In 2007 and 2008 free circulation in Switzerland was more than 2 million; now it is down to just over 1 million.

Portugal: from 5 to 4

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

MeiaHora2009Finding myself in free newspaper paradise Lisbon this morning, I couldn’t find free ‘quality’ daily Meia Hora by publisher Cofina. (Although I picked up Metro, Destak, Global Noticias and OJE.)

The last issue of Meia Hora available on the website was that of July 17 (right), suggesting that the paper did not return after the summer holidays.

The closure of Meia Hora is probably related to the acquisition of the shares of Metro Portugal by one of Cofina’s subsidiaries. Cofina also publishes free daily Destak since 2004. Having three free dailies, apart from paid dailies Correio da Manhã, Record (sports) and Jornal de Negócios (business), is too much apparently.

Still there are three general free dailies (both with Lisbon and Porto editions) and one business free daily in the country.

Metro counted this morning 16 pages, 6 of them with ads and also containing a glued-in 8 page full color insert. Destak counted 24 pages, 10 devoted to advertising.

Global Noticias, launched in 2007 by Controlinveste, also publisher of paid dailies Diario de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias, 24 Horas and O Jogo (sports). The paper counted 16 pages, 4 of them with ads – and containing a glued insert as well.

Free business paper OJE (circulation 28,000) counted 24 pages, less than 4 of those filled with ads.

Bulgarian Novinite Dnes converted to paid

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

noviniteDnes2009On December 1, Bulgarian free daily Novinite Dnes (The Daily News) will be converted to a paid paper. The cover price will be 10 Eurocent (20 Bulgarian stotinki); the yearly subscription price will be around €30.

The number of pages of the paper will increase from 16 to 24.

Novinite Dnes was launched in April of this year and claims a circulation of 150,000 (see previous post).

After the conversion 19 Minutes (19′) will be the only free daily in Bulgaria.

Last day of the Lite

Friday, November 13th, 2009

londonlite_cover.jpgAfter little more than three years the curtain falls for free evening paper London Lite. Steve Auckland, Managing Director of Associated Newspapers Free Division said in an official DMGT press release:

“It’s been a pleasure to work with a small and highly motivated team of individuals. I’d also like to thank the agencies and clients for supporting a unique offering in the afternoon market place – and not forgetting our one million daily readers.”

Actually, there were 1.1 million readers in the last survey period for the 400,000 copies of the free daily that was launched to protect the evening market (Evening Standard) against the also free thelondonpaper by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch, who seemed to be envious of Associated Newspapers’ morning free daily Metro, did not want a free morning paper because that could hurt The Sun in his opinion.

The Lite is not the first free daily in the UK to close, it is actually the 11th. The full list of free UK closures (and launches):

  1. Birmingham Daily News 1984-1991 (Tuesday-Friday), converted into the weekly Birmingham MetroNews.
  2. Tonight (London) 1994, distributed at tube stations, went weekly at the end of the year and closed in 1995.
  3. Metro, 1999 – started in London to fend off Metro International, grew to a circulation of 1.3 million and 10 editions in 2009. Only sub-edition in Brighton closed.
  4. Manchester Metro 1999-2001, Guardian Media Group, merged with Metro Manchester edition (called News North West).
  5. Morning News (Newcastle) 2000, Metro International, assets (subway contract) sold to Trinity Mirror.
  6. Standard Lite 2004-2006, digest edition of Evening Standard, later upgraded to London Lite (with increased circulation).
  7. FTpm 2005-2006, a free A4 paper by the Financial Times, London first, Scotland and Birmingham later, launched with fanfare, closed down without a whisper.
  8. City AM 2005-, London business paper, steady growing in circulation, national and international expansion plans put on hold.
  9. MEN Lite 2005-2006, a digest version of the Manchester Evening News, after the closure succeeded by:
  10. Manchester Evening News 2006-, started distributing for free in city center, now concentrating circulation on two days a week (Liverpool Daily Post employs same strategy but on a marginal scale).
  11. Argus Lite 2006-2007 (Brighton), Newsquest free daily, spin off from paid weekly.
  12. London Lite 2006-2009, Associated attempt to spoil Murdoch’s paper
  13. Thelondonpaper 2006-2009, Murdoch attempts to spoil the market for Associated Newspapers.
  14. The Record PM 2007-2009 (four local editions in Scottland) by Trinity Mirror, light version of paid morning paper.
  15. Evening Standard 2009-, 75% sold by DMGT/Associated Newspapers to Russian millionaire Lebedev, who converted the paid evening paper (250,000 circulation, half of it already free) after a few months to a free model with a circulation of 600,000 – to be increased to 750,000 at the end of 2009.


Total circulation of free dailies in the UK looks like this.

The rise in 2000 is the result of new Metro editions; also in 2004 and 2006 new editions were added while  circulation in London doubled between 2000 and 2009.

In 2006 circulation increased also because of the launch of the two London free evening papers and the MEN going part free.

Lite’s out at Friday 13

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

londonlite_cover.jpgThe last issue of Associated Newspapers’ London Lite will be published on Friday November 13 according to The Guardian.

After Richard Desmond (The Daily Express, the Daily Star) said he was thinking about a London evening free paper, London-i, in November 2004 the Evening Standard countered this with its own spoiler on December 14, 2004.

The 48-page ‘lunch edition’ Standard Lite replaced the first two editions of the Evening Standard. It had a staff of 12 journalists, carried some ‘bite-sized’ articles from the Standard, as well as a TV-guide and a ‘what’s on’ section. It was distributed between 11.30 and 14.30 in the Circle Underground line area.


Metro-Herald merged approved

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

metroireland2009The Irish Competition Authority approved the merger between Dublin free newspapers Herald AM and Metro. The new publication, Metro Herald, is owned by Independent News & Media, Associated Newspapers and the Irish Times.

Both papers were launched October 10, 2005. Metro by Associated Newspapers (who operated Metro in the UK), Metro International, and the Irish Times. Independent News & Media, publisher of the Evening Herald, launched the competing Herald AM. Circulation of both papers was around 70,000 – the new title will have a similar circulation.

Both publishers announced in July 2009 that they wanted to merge their papers. The merger will probably look like a closure of the Herald AM title as INM is acquiring a stake in Metro publisher Fortunegreen Limited. Therefore the new paper will probably be quite similar to the old Metro (and Metro UK).

The Competition Authority approved the merger under two conditions to ensure competition:

  • Fortunegreen will have the incentive and the ability to be an effective independent competitor in the market for display newspaper advertising in the GDA;
  • the proposed transaction will not create a forum that could enhance the ability for coordination between the shareholders and between the shareholders and Fortunegreen.