Israel Today buys Makor Rishon and Ma’ariv online

March 31st, 2014

makorThe ultra-orthodox daily Makor Rishon and the Ma’ariv online edition nrg are acquired by Sheldon Adelson’s daily Israel Today for 14 million (Makor Rishon, right) and NIS 3 million (nrg) (total €3.5 million).

According to Globes: “Judge David Mintz expressed reservations about the sale because it does not also include the Hebrew daily newspaper “Ma’ariv” itself. However, Adv. Shalom Goldblatt stressed that the most important thing at the moment was to save the brands and the employees rather than the company.”

Ma’ariv is still for sale, the offer from the Jerusalem Post was not accepted.

20 Minutes France for sale

March 13th, 2014

According to Le Figaro, the owners of free dailies Metro (TF1) and Direct Matin (the Bolloré Group) are talking with competitor 20 Minutes (Schibsted and Sipa-Ouest-France) to buy the newspaper.

20 Minutes and Direct Matin are market leaders in circulation, but 20 Minutes has more readers and has also more revenues.

The problem with French free dailies is that they are engaged in a fierce comtepetion, all titles lose money or are just break-even. If there would be only one or even two titles, the market would look more promising. Even with TF1 and Bolloré owning 20 Minutes, competition on advertising rates would be much less.


Daily Mail takes over Metro UK website

March 10th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 22.30.19The website of UK free daily Metro is to be incorporated within Mail Online (Daily Mail’s website).

Metro’s managing director Steve Auckland confirmed the take-over.

Metro and Mail Online are both part of the Daily Mail and General Trust.

Steve Auckland told The Drum:

“The three million daily uniques achieved on 18 February gave us a glimpse of the audience potential of this website and the camaraderie that exists within the team. However, the potential to accelerate this growth and monetise it is best served by the Mail Online team at this moment in time. It will free the rest of the business to concentrate on reinvigorating Metro.”

UK free circulation approaches 2.5 million again

January 20th, 2014

With the plan of the Evening Standard to increase circulation to 900,000 copies this spring, total UK free circulation will approach the 2.5 million mark again.

When Metro and City AM stay at their current level (1.370.000 and 125.000) total circulation will be almost as high (2.4 million) as it was in 2009 (2.5 million).

At that time all three current titles were published, but also London Lite, MEN (free) and The Record. (click on graph for bigger version)


Metronews France in Apple Kiosk

January 19th, 2014

metro_france_kioskAll 7 editions of MetroNews France –  Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice-Cannes, Lille and Nantes – will be avalibale in the Apple Kiosk with a new app.

The new app MetroNews Le Journal (for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch) is developed by Aquafadas.

All editions will be avilable each weekday before 7am. (ConsumerElectronics)

20 Minutes Grenoble closes

January 9th, 2014

20minutes_grenoble_2013The Grenoble edition of French leading free daily 20 Minutes has not returned in 2014. The last issue (right, click for bigger version) was published on December 20, 2013.

In Grenoble 12,000 copies were distributed; the edition was launched on March 2010. From now on the Grand-Lyon edition will be distributed in Grenoble. (Liberation)

20 Minutes is now published with 12 different editions in France, and with a joined circulation of 950,000. Also Metro (720,000) and DirectPlus (900,000) are distributed in most major French cities.

For the Grenoble edition two journalists from press agency Pleins Titres wer contributing stories; in Grand Lyon three journalists are responsible for local news.

Last month 20 Minuten was faced with a strike that also was cause by cost-cutting measures when 13 people lost their job at the free daily.

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”