Archive for the ‘Publishers’ Category

New owners for Washington Express and Metro Boston

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

express_2013The sale of the Washington Post and The Boston Globe also means different owners for the free dailies that are published by the papers.

Amazon-founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos is now also the owner of free paper Express after he bought The Washington Post.

Bezos will pay $250 million in cash for The Post and affiliated publications. Bezos will become the sole owner of the papers when the sale is completed. (Washington Post)

Express was launched in August 2003, it has a circulation of 180,000.

The New York Times sold the Boston Globe for $70 million to John W. Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Sports Group, Fenway Park, and 80 percent of the New England Sports Network.

metro_boston_2013The New England Media Group consists of,, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette,, the direct-mail marketing company Globe Direct, and the company’s interest (49%) in Metro Boston. (KUGN)

Metro Boston was launched in 2001; a year later Metro joined forces with the Boston Globe on joint advertising; in 2005 The New Yok Times Company (owner of Boston Globe) took an interest of 49% in Metro Boston. This edition has a circulation of around 150,000.

Metro USA changed hands in june 2009 when Seabay Media (controled by former Metro CEO Pelle Törnberg) bought the US papers (other editions in Philadelphia and New York).

Schibsted report loses for 20 minutes in Q1 2013

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Screen shot 2013-05-03 at 12.50.40 PMThe free newspaper operations of Norwegian Media House Schibsted in France (20 Minutes) and Spain (20 Minutos) showed a loss (EBITDA) of 23 milljon NOK (€3 million) in Q1 of 2013 against a operating revenue of 68 million NOK (€9 million).

In 2012 the EBITDA for both operations was 48 million NOK (€6.3 million).

20 Minutes France had a revenue decline of 20 percent in Q1 2013, 20 Minutes Spain saw revenues declining by 23 percent.

In both countries cost reductions have been realized or are still in progess.

20 Minutos still loses money after cuts

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

20minutos_vallodolid_finalNorwegian mediahouse Schibsted announced in its annual report 2012 that Spanish free daily 20 Minutos lost €6.9 million in 2012 (€3.6 million in 2011), even after the paper closed seven editions in Spain.

Operating revenues went down from €22.3 million (2011) to €17.4 million in 2012.

After the summer, the editions for Alicante, Murcia, Bilbao, Valladolid (the last edition right), Coruna, Vigo and Asturias did not return.

2o Minutos is now only published in Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Valencia, Malaga, Granada and Cordoba. Its circulation is down to 560,000 (in 2007 it was over a million).

As all national competitors of 20 Minutos closed down during the last years – Metro in 2009, ADN in 2011, Qué! in 2012 – the loss shows how extremely difficult the Spanish advertising market is.

In Mexico 20 Minutos, however, launched a digital version of the paper.

In France sister paper 20 Minutes (50 share) showd a small profit of €1.5 million.

Readership of 20 Minutos dropped with 10% from 2.1 million to 1.9 million. Because of this 20 Minutos is now the third paper in Spain after sports paper Marca (+2% in readership) and El Paìs (+1%) according to the latest EGM-data.


Metro goes Bieber

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-10 at 3.52.45 PMAfter Lady Gaga, Richard Branson and Karl Lagerfeld, Metro will have Justin Bieber featuring in all editions in 23 Metro countries.

Metro is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special edition dedicated to love on February 14th. Justin Bieber will collaborate with Metro in a contest were one lucky fan can win a VIP experience during Bieber’s European “Believe” tour.

“The special Love Issue will contain an exclusive Q&A with Bieber; his favourite love songs playlist; an ode to the lost art of the love letter; a guide to romance in 2013; and our round up of the most impressive public displays of affection.

The contest will kick off with the Love Issue on February 14th and continue for two weeks. It’s simple: Readers grab a copy of the Love Issue, photograph themselves with the newspaper in a place they’d take Bieber on a date, and upload it to Metro’s Facebook page. The more “likes”, the better the chances of being personally selected by Bieber to win! The winner’s experience at the concert and backstage will be covered globally in Metro.” (Metro Press Release)

Metro: out of Europe II

Friday, November 30th, 2012

In yesterday’s post – or rather in yesterdays’ graph – I probably put too much information.

I tried to show all countries and all ownership shifts in all years. The left axis was circulation (x 1000), the right axis share of majority owned Metro’s. Solid fills in a country meant majority ownership; patterned fills indicate a minority ownership or a franchise.

Confusing. Too Much Information.

The graph below is more straightforward. Total circulation of all Metro’s is divided in majority ownership (dark green) and minority ownership or franchises (light green). Together with yesterday’s graph they show the development of Metro ownership in Europe.


So far, Metro closed in five European countries: Croatia (2008, EPH franchise) and fully / majority owned operations in Poland (2007), Spain (2009), Switzerland (2002) and the UK (2000).

The changes in ownership (with new owners) took place in

  • 2006 Finland (Sanoma)
  • 2007 Czech Republic (Mafra / Rheinische Post)
  • 2009 Portugal (Cofina), Italy (Litusud)
  • 2010 Greece (Volos)
  • 2011 Hungary (Megapolis), France (TF1)
  • 2012 Netherlands (Telegraaf), Denmark (Tamedia)

In Russia St. Petersburg started as a Metro franchise in 2009 Metro became majority owner. The Moscow Metro is a franchise, operate by AFK Sistema.

Metro: out of Europe

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Metro International has gradually pulled out of Europe during the last five years. The sale of the Dutch and Danish editions only the Swedish and one Russion edition are owned by Metro.

In total, Metro had editions in 16 in Europe, in five countries (Croatia, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, UK) Metro closed, in the other markets – except Sweden and the St. Petersburg Metro are now majority owned by Metro. Sweden is owned for 35% by Schibsted, St. Peterburg is owned by 95% by Metro.

All other editions have been sold (sometimes a small interest is kept) and are no operated as franchises.

In 2005 Metro owned 100% of the Metro papers, in 2012 this droppd to 22%. (click on graph for bigger version)


Metro Denmark sold to Swiss Tamedia

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The Swiss Tamedia group, publisher of the leading free daily in that country, will acquire free dailies MetroXpress and 24timer from Metro International.

Tamadia will buy all shares in the group, including the shares of A-Pressen and JP/Politiken (both 24.5% of shares). The sale will be effective on January 1, 2013.

The sale is another sign of Metro pulling out of Europe – leaving the titles as franchises – and concentrate on developing marktes, mainly in Latin America. (

MetroXpress is the best read paper in the country, 24timer is 4th.

Sanoma Finland reorganizes freesheet operations

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Screen shot 2012-10-30 at 7.43.51 AMSanoma Kaupunkilehdet, the freesheet operations of Sanoma Finland will be be included in the Helsingin Sanomat organisation.

Free sheet Vartti will no longer be published in the Helsinki  region, the site will be taken down, will serve as Metro’s new site, while Metro will become part of the Helsingin Sanomat publishing house as well.

Through the operational reorganisation, 27 people will lose their jobs.

The last issues of Vartti in Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen, Vantaa will be published on 31 October. will be taken down on 31 October.

According to 4-traders: The reorganisation of Sanoma Kaupunkilehdet operations is part of overall Sanoma Group transformation process. (…) Similar programmes are in progress in other Sanoma units and countries.

Newspaper war in Israel

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Israeli paid paper Maariv was recently sold to Shlomo Ben-Zvi’s Hirsch Media, also publisher of right-wing daily Makor Rishon.

Late 2005 Shlomo Ben-Zvi started the first free Israeli newspaper HaYisraeli and soon invited American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to invest in the paper. Both co-owners fell out over investments and the content of the paper – Adels0n apparentely wanted an even stronger support for Netanyahu’s Likud Party than Ben-Zvi.

Adels0n and Shlomo Ben-Zvi started suing each other in late 2006. Adelson launched his own free daily Israel Today in 2007 – after a failed attempt to control Maariv (now acquired by Ben-Zvi). By then HaYisraeli was bankrupt. Israel Today became the largest newspaper in the country within only a few years.

Telegraaf Media Group acquires Metro Holland

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Screen shot 2012-08-29 at 8.04.56 AMMetro International diverst the Dutch edition by selling it to TMG (Telegraaf Media Group), also the owner of the only remaining free competitor in the Netherlands: Spits.

Both papers were lauched 13 years ago – on the same day: 21 July 1999.

There were several other free papers like (TMG, 2000-2001), DAG (PCM, 2007-2008) and De Pers (2007-2012), the last one closed in March 2012.

The revenue of Metro Holland was €23.4m. EBIT €451,000 (2%). EBIT in 2010 was €3.6m (15%).

TMG will hold now 40% of the Dutch newspaper marker, according to the publisher the deal will not be  covered by competition authority NMa as they intervene only when a share of 50% is reached.

Metro has a circulation of 460,000 and 1.6 million readers (3.3 reader per copy). Spits distributes 326,000 copies and has 1.5 million readers (3.8 reader per copy).

Together the papers attract 2.3 million readers. TMG will start an operation to make the papers more different. Distribution will be the first target for cost cuts, sales will follow later. Eventually TMG will also print Metro, although printing contracts by Metro have always be very tight, not much synergy can be expected there.

Metro sold minority shares in Sweden and Denmark earlier. Finalnd, Italy, Greece, France, Portugal and Finland were sold in full, in the Czech Republic Metro holds a small share. Poland, Switzerland, Croatia and Spain were closed.

Also in Denmark and Portugal two competing papers (one of  them a Metro in both cases) are owned by the same publisher (Metro in Denmark).

All European editions (except Hungary) are now (partially sold) – the focus for Metro is now on Latin America.