Jensen leaves Metro International

January 5th, 2014

Metro International announced on December 16 that Metro’s CEO, Per-Mikael Jensen, decided to leave the company. From the press release:

Metro International has divested a large part of its global operations in the past years. The main focus is now concentrated on the six Latin-American markets and Metro Sweden. It is against this background that Per Mikael Jensen has chosen to leave Metro.

Anders Kronborg, COO at Kinnevik, will be responsible for Metro International going forward and Per Mikael will be at the company’s disposal during his notice period.

Per Mikael Jensen was quoted as well:

“I have had six great years at Metro International, and I have been fortunate to work with some very strong executives around the World. After having been part of consolidating the industry in Europe whilst having grown drastically in Latin America, this is now a good time to say thank you and look for other opportunities, either within the Group or outside”.

Free newspapers in Europe 1995 – 2012

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

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.

Adelson – “the world’s wealthiest Jew” – on Israeli newspapers

December 25th, 2013

138708237191194458a_t_engBusiness paper Globes contained an interesting interview with Sheldon Adelson, with $37 billion “the fifth wealthiest man in the US, and the world’s wealthiest Jew”.

Gambling billionaire Adelson controls a major part of the press in Israel. He owns the largest Israli newspaper, freesheet Israel Today, and by printing contracts also supported paid newspaper Haaretz. But after Israel Today buying its own printing plant, Haaretz is believed to run into financial troubles soon.

“I’m not killing the newspaper “Haaretz” and if “Haaretz” is on its way down it’s because it’s killing itself” Adelson told Globes.

Although Israel Today and Adelson clearly support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the owner denies to do so, and instead launched an attack at  the “unofficial dictator Noni Mozes”, publisher of the largest paid Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot:

“what you see is what Noni Mozes writes about Bibi exaggerations, half-truths and lies, and what you read in our newspaper is a fair and balanced viewpoint not only about Bibi but about everyone”

Israel Today buys buys Ma’ariv print house

December 15th, 2013

138708237191194458a_t_engIsraeli leading free daily newspaper Israel Today has acquired its own pinting house with taking over the former printing plant of the Ma’ariv newspaper.

According to Israeli business news website Globes, this move could be fatal for Israeli paid daily Haaretz, that was printing Israel Today until now, for “tens of millions of shekels annually”.

The freesheet, which is also believed to have bought the land from Amos Maiman, also plans to move its editorial and management offices to Bat Yam.
The acquisition is reportedly being made for NIS 80 million.
The move is a mortal blow to “Haaretz” which until now had printed Sheldon Adelson’s newspaper for tens of millions of shekels annually.
Maiman acquired the printing house from the “Ma’ariv” trustees for NIS 65 million.

The printing plant was owned by Amos Maiman, who paid NIS 65 million. The acquisition of Israel Today is reportedly being made for NIS 80 million (€16.6 million).

20 million monthly unique visitors for

December 13th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at has reached the 20 million visitors mark because of  social media referals according to the newspaper.

It reached 20.1 million monthly global unique visitors for the first time.

This is an increae of 24 per cent month-on-month and 161 per cent year-on-year. Facebook’s decision to increase its traffic to publishers has played a major role.

Half of the vistors are from the UK. (TheDrum)

12 years of free dailies in Hong Kong

December 13th, 2013

The first free daily in Hong Kong (Metropolis Daily by Metro International) – now Metro – was introduced in August 2012.

In 2005 AM730 (Shih Wing Ching) and Headline Daily (Sing Tao News Corp.) joined Metro while business paper The Standard converted to a free model in 2007.

In 2011 two new titles were introduced: Sky Post (Hong Kong Economic Times) and Sharp Daily (Next Media). This last paper folded earlier this year.

Free circulation in Hong Hong is now 2.4 million (click on graph for bigger version).


Swiss Blick am Abend expands online

December 12th, 2013

Free Swiss evening paper Blick am Abend is upgrading their online business. The paper is second in readership after leading (free) daily 20 Minuten, but lags further behind online.

To expand their online operation Blick am Abend is hiring new journalist for the website, offer 24/24 news updates, and will change banners for native advertising.

The new website should not cannibalize the website of paid (tabloid) paper Blick, but if it does, publisher Florian Fels thinks it’s better that Blick am Abend cannibalizes instead of another (20 Minuten?) website:

und wenn doch, dann kannibalisiere​n wir uns lieber selbst, als dass es andere tun.” (Persoenlich)

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 12.06.00

Not everybody in Switzerland is a fan of online, in an interview with Freiewelt, Professor Kurt Imhoff says that free information destroyed journalism (Interview is in German).

Austrians don’t trust free dailies

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

Auckland rejoins Metro

December 4th, 2013

As was suggested earlier on this blog, Steve Auckland will indeed rejoin Metro to replace Linda Grant as managing director.

Auckland previously led Metro from 2002 to March 2011. (TheDrum)

Circulation and readership are in the graph (click for bigger version) below.