Archive for the ‘Titles’ Category

Evening Standard criticized

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

evening standard 2013With a steadily rising circulation and a wealthy owner – Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev – UK free daily The Evening Standard seems to be sailing into a bright future.

Recently, however, some problems have become apparent at the free London evening newspaper (circulation 700,000).

First of all there has be criticism on the pro-Boris Johnston content of the paper. The London mayor is a good friend of Evgeny Lebedev’s, the owner’s playboy son and also chairman of the newspaper group (Evening Standard, the Independent and the cheap ‘I’ paper).

Johnson and his sister Rachel frequently appear on the paper’s society pages while editor Sarah Sands has written interviews with the mayor, in a tone described as “uncritical” by commentators according to International Business Times.

The newspaper backed Johnson in his two mayoral election campaigns. Columnist Brian Sewell wrote in Press Gazette that “there is a danger that it becomes Boris’s newspaper – his newssheet”.

The second problem is financial, as all three newspapers and the website London Live have to be integrated in the near future, it will be “the start of a considerable period of change and reorgansation” according to the management.

The third problem is a PR-issue concerning columnist and art dealer Charles Saatchi who publicly assaulted his wife Nigella Lawson, although he called it “playful tiff“.

The e-paper version of the Eevening Standard can be viewed here.

Metro France: “C’est trés trés dur”

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

metronews_france_2013Édouard Boccon-Gibod, director of the French edition of Metro, called the situation on the French advertising market “very very hard” according to an interview in Le Figaro.

Boccon-Gibod expects to reach break-even in 2014, after a reduction of losses this year. He said in Le Figaro that he is not aiming at increasing the circulation to one million, as both his competitors are doing.

In France, Metro is owned by commercial broadcaster TF1 since July 2011. It competes with 20 Minutes (Schibsted/Sofiouest) and the Direct Matin Plus free dailies from the Bolloré group (in cooperation with local publishers).

Metro distributes 727,000 copies in France, 430,000 in Paris. Circulation of 20 minutes is 965,000, with 500,000 copies in Paris. Direct Matin Plus has a total circulation of 890,000 with 540,000 in Paris (OJD, April 2013).

In terms of synergy, Metronews is now using more video and news from its parent TF1.

At the end of May, Metro France was rebranded as Metronews, according to the company to avoid confusion with the subway system and the wholesale company Metro. This last company has been suing Metro International for several year over the – in their eyes – illegal use of the Metro brand. The name change could be related to this legal action as well.

New logo for 20 Minuten

Monday, May 6th, 2013

20minuten2013Swiss free daily 20 Minuten (by Tamedia) introduced a new logo today (Persoenlich).

The 3D-logo (and slightly darker blue than the previous one) will be used for all editions of the newspaper (French, German and Italian versions). (click on paper for bigger version)

Also the website and the Friday-magazine will use the new logo.

The e-paper of 20 Minuten can be viewed here.

Free newspapers in Europe: new data

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

As most circulation data for European papers is now available, it is possible to publish the total European data. In February we already presented an earlier version, but the data below are more exact (and somewhat lower).

Compared to 2011, circulation dropped with 11% to 15.5 million copies. The number of countries with free dailies remained the same with 27, the number of titles went down from 81 to 75.

Free dailies closed down in Denmark (Urban), Greece (Metro), Italy (City), Luxembourg (Point24), Spain (Qué!, Telegrafico Madrid) and the Netherlands (De Pers). Editions were closed by Direct Matin Plus (France), Metro (Italy) and 20 Minutos (Spain). Other papers just lowered distribution.


In the coming weeks I will focus in detail on developments in different European countries.

A tale of two papers (and one owner)

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

spits_fransHaving two competing papers can be a burden for an owner. Especially when it concerns free dailies, as these papers are in direct competition with each other.

No matter how different they are, when distribution is similar (through public transport), the audience will be the same and therefore papers will compete.

Recently Tamedia (MetroXpres) closed 24timer, its second free daily in Denmark. Earlier also in Finland (Sanoma) and Switzerland (Tamedia) publishers closed competing free dailies.

In countries like Iceland, Ireland and the Czech Republic publishers of free papers merged and almost immediately closed one title.

In the Netherlands TMG owns both free dailies Metro and Spits. It tried to distinguish the titles by having Spits focusing on entertainment (and a young audience) and the other (Metro) on news and a more mature audience.

TMG also introduced a earlier printing time for Spits (20:15, as news was not that urgent) and lowered the circulation. The publisher now announced that it would move from hand distribution to distribution through boxes for Spits.

In Portugal (Metro and Destak, Cofina) and Italy (Metro and DNews, Litosud) two free dailies are owned by the same publisher.

Will Smith & Jaden Smith to curate Metro

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

After celebrity editors Lady Gaga, Karl Lagerfeld & Richard Branson, Metro will have Jaden and Will Smith as Metro special guests on April 22.

In the paper and online, in advance of their action film “After Earth,” premiering June 7, 2013, Jaden and Will Smith will imagine what the Earth will look like hundreds of years from now; including environmental impact, advances in technology and transport, and media. The pair will sit for an exclusive Q&A with Metro. All content will run in Metro’s print and digital editions around the world.

Below a still from the Smith-trailer.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 3.28.36 PM

Takeover of Metro results in early closing time for Spits

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

This morning free dailies Metro and Spits – both owned by Dutch media group TMG – covered the Boston bomb attack quite differently.

Actually, Spits didn’t cover it at all. After TMG took over Metro it started printing the new acquisition itself, resulting in a closing time for Spits of 20:15. This explained why Spits could not cover the attack.


For a newspaper focusing on News and Entertainment (Spits’ tag-line), a closing time of 21:15 could be lethal.

Spits usually had a very strong sports section. But with an early closing time, European football, matches of the national team and for the KNVB-Cup (evening) cannot be covered anymore.

There have been speculations about the future of both newspapers within one company, in terms of printing times, TMG has already chosen…

In the past also free newspapers in Denmark that were published (and printed) by major publishing houses (Dato by Berlingske, 24timer by JP/Politiken) suffered from early closing times.

Sources: Metro (pdf) and Spits (pdf)

Metro’s Bieber editions

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Not all, but quite a few Metro’s featured Justin Bieber on the frontpage today to celebrate Valentine.

In Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, USA, Ecuador, Mexico and Puerto Rico the covers all had the same picture, Sweden used a different one. (click on pic for bigger Bieber)


TMG differentiates titles

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

In 2012 Telegraaf Media Group (TMG) bought free daily Metro from its Swedish owners. The publisher already owned the othet national free daily Spits.

This week TMG announced that it would introduce a new format for both papers.

Metro would be the more serious one, targeting a general audience (25-54). Spits will focus more on a young audience and entertainment. What that meant, showed this morning, when both papers covered the Pope.


Tonight Toronto challenges Canadian paywalls

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Screen shot 2012-10-31 at 9.46.50 PMIt’s a marketing gimmick of course. But there is nothing wrong with good marketing.

As Candanian newspapers are moving towards a paywall model, free Toronto evening paper tonight re-launched its website with “unlimited breaking news for free”.

John Cameron, publisher of tonight says: “our readers will have the freshest stories the minute news breaks, something that will set our brand apart from other web properties”.