Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Free newspapers in Europe 1995 – 2012

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

In 1995 total circulation of free newspapers in Europe was 230,000 (Metro Stockholm). Five years later it had increased to more than 5 million – with 32 titles in 13 countries.

The highest circulation was reached in 2007: 27 million (140 titles in 31 countries). In 2012 total circulation was down to 15 million (75 titles in 27 countries).

In 2006 and 2007 the number of papers per country was around 4.5 – meaning compettition in almost every market. in 2012 there are less that 3 titles per country; and as a number of those are local papers, competition has vanished or diminished in most markets.


An recent article by me on free newspapers in Western Europe is published in the Danish journal Journalistica.

The rise and fall of free newspapers in Western Europe

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

In 2007, in 31 European countries 27 million free newspapers per day were distributed every day. It was the highest circulation ever in Europe, 12 years after the start of free dailies in 1995 in the Swedish capital Stockholm.

The subsequent crisis took a heavy toll, ad revenue declined rapidly so that the only source of income dried up quickly. In the following years circulation dropped to 15 million in 2012.

Of the 140 free newspapers in 2007, five yearslater 75 survived. In almost every country one or two titles remained. Competition was replaced by monopoly.

For the Danish academic journal Journalistica I analyzed how free newspapers developed inn Western Europe.

In the four Nordic countries with free dailies (no free dailies in Norway) a huge growth showd in 2006/2007 – followed by an equally impressive decline. Free newspapers did not disappeared . In Sweden it went from three national titles to only one (Metro), in Denmark from 11 titles in 2006 to only one in 2013 and in Finland and Iceland from two to one. In 2006, the total circulation was 3.8 million, in 2013, 1.1 million.


The article also examines developments in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg), UK/Ireland and the Netherlands/Belgium.

The whole issue of Journalistica can be downloaded from this location (PDF) for free. My chapter is available for download here : The life cycle of a free newspaper business model newspaper- rich markets.

Austrians don’t trust free dailies

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Austrians trust radio and tv more than newspapers, online newsmedia and Google when political information in concerned.

They don’t trust free newspapers, online fora, blogs, Youtube, Twitter and Faccebook.

Results are from an online research (500 Austrians older than 16 years) by APA/OGM.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 16.32.35

Free dailies grow in Latin America

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

In total, the circulation of free newspapers worldwide is dropping, but in Asia and particularly in Latin America circulation is stil going up.

Since 1999, free dailies have been introduced in 11 countries on the continent. Between 2001 and 2004, circulation declined but after that circulation showed a permanent increase.

Leading are Brazil with a circulation of more than one million and Mexico (780,000 daily copies). (click for bigger version)

free_latin_1999_2011In 2011 36 different titles were published, 8 in Argentina and Brazil, 6 in Mexico. The latest additions were papers in Bolivia, Guatemala and Peru (2011).

Metro is a strong brand in Latin America, with papers (often as a local franchise) in Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador.

Market share is impressive in some cases, particular in Dominican Republic (Diario Libre and Al Dia), Chile (Metro and La Hora).


An analysis of the market development is published in Revista de Comunicación, Vol. 11, a publication of The Facultad de Comunicación in Piura (Peru).

Facultad de Comunicación
Ciudad: Piura

Only sports papers grow in Spain

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

The latest readership data from Spain (AIMC/EGM) shows that only sports papers grow. Almost all other papers lose readers (even in 2011 with no championship).


Sports papers Marca (1), As (4), El Mundo Deportivo (10) all gained readers, only Sport (11) went down in readership.

Free papers 20 Minutos (2), Qué! (5) and ADN (7) lost substantially (-7%, -9% and -15%).

Paid paper El País (3) was stable but El Mundo (6) lost 4% of its readers. La Vanguardia (8) gained readers but El Periodico (9) lost.

Visualisation Spanish free press

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The organization of the Spanish free press AEPG, has visualized their business on one page: work force, online/offline sales, sort of ads and the sectors that do advertise in free media. The full pdf can be downloaded from the AEPG website.

Screen shot 2011-12-06 at 4.19.55 PM

Free newspaper ‘hype’ far from over

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Reports from WAN-IFRA suggest that the ‘hype’ of free newspaper is over. Data, however, suggest otherwise.

If there was a hype, it was already over in 2009 when worldwide circulation (end-of-year data) dropped with 18% to 34 million. In 2010 total circulation was almost stable (-1%) while in 2011 circulation has increased again with 6%.

Responsible for the growth are countries like Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, Austria, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK. In other countries circulation was stable or even dropping (Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Macedonia, Russia, USA, Mexico, Chile).

The number of titles dropped in 2010 to 200 and in 2011 again to 190. In 2011 there are free dailies in 56 countries (60 in 2008).


Total circulation of free dailies in 2011 is 36 million, 55% is distributed in Europa, 28% in Asia and 22% in the America’s. WAN-IFRA reports a total free circulation of 24 million – meaning missing some countries (and almost a third of the circulation) as they only research 69 countries instead of the previous 200.

The share of Europe is dropping over the years, as the share of Asia and Latin America is increasing.


Circulation data, hewever, is not officially audited in most non-Western countries. Data (also for paid papers) from most countries in Latin America and Asia should be treated with caution.

Data on Europe, Asia and America were presented in earlier posts yesterday and last week. Some more graphs can be seen here.

Metropolitan Panel

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Metro International rebranded their Metro Life Panel as Metropolitan Panel – according to Metro: “a global online research panel dedicated to investigate the psychographic attributes, mindset and lifestyle of the Metropolitan target audience globally.”

The panel was launched in 2005 and is present in 14 countries; Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary,  Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and the USA.

Picture 34

Polish readership continues slide

Friday, April 15th, 2011

The reach of the two best-read paid  newspapers in Poland, Gazeta Wyborcza (Agora) and Fakt (Springer) is just below 14% in the period August 2010 – January 2011. Four years ago this was around 20%. (click to enlarge graph)

On third place follows free daily Metro (Agora) while tabloid Super Express is fourth. (data: Millward Brown SMG/KRC)


German newspaper history

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

gratiszeitung_2001_mGerman public broadcaster WDR aired a documentary on the history of newspapers last week.

A slideshow is available on their website. Slide number 13 (picture from WDR) concerned the Cologne newspaper war.

In December 1999 Norwegian publisher Schibsted launched their free daily 20 Minuten in Cologne. It was met with great resistance from the local publisher Dumont Schauberg (Express, box in the back of the picture) and national boulevard paper Bild Zeitung from Axel Springer (also in the back of the picture).

Springer started with free daily Köln Extra two days later while Dumont Schauberg launched Kölner Morgen in February. Springer and Dumont Schauberg also took Schibsted to court and begun to lower the advertising rates to almost zero.

In july 2001 Schibsted gave up, both competitors closed a day later.