January 21st, 2015
Estonia had only one free paper: Linnaleht, with editions in Estinian and Russian in Talinn (2005-2008) and one edition in Tartu (2007-2008).
In December 2008 the daily paper was terminated, in January 2009 it returned with a semi-weekly schedule.
Linnaleht was published by two paid papers Postimees and Eesti Päevaleht (of different publishers).
Joint circulation was between 60,000 and 90,000. Paid papers in Estiona had a joint circulation of 200,000 in the last years.
January 19th, 2015
In the three weeks between August 14 and September 4, 2006, no less than five new free newspaper titles were launched in Denmark. Some of the titles launched several editions while existing titles increased the number of editions – in total 12 new editions were launched during those three weeks.
A country gone crazy.
The start for this crazyness was the announcement of Icelandic publisher Dagsbrunn that they would launch quality free newspaper Nyhedavisen, with 36-pages at least, 6-days-a-week, door-to-door delivered, covering all Denmark with three editions and employing more than a 100 journalists.
Existing publishers reacted by launching 24timer (4 editions, JP Politiken), Dato (Berlingske), Centrum Morgen and Centrum Aften (Nordjyllands Avisselskab, replacing 10 Minutter, a local paper in Aalborg that started in 2002).
The two existing papers reacted as well. Metro launched an afternoon edition, Urban a national edition. Most papers went to door-to-door distribution.
Within two years – and after millions of losses – it was over. In 2014 only one title remains.
- Nyhedsavisen owner Dagsbrunn sold 51% to Morten Lund (Skype) for 1 Dkr, but the paper closed down anyway in September 2008. It lost 420m Danish crowns (€56m) in 2007 alone. Total debts at closing date were €7m al least. At that time, howere, Nyhedsavisen was still the best-read paper in Denmark.
- Dato had already closed down in April 2007.
- 24 timer closed one edition in 2007, merged the Odense edition with local free daily Xtra in 2007, closed it in 2008. Also in Arhus a merged edition (with JPArhus+) was closed down (2009). The two remaining editions were sold to Metro in 2008 and closed in 2013. Publisher JP Politiken acquired 24.5% in Metro.
- The Metro evening lasted only three months.
- Urban merged four local editions with the new national edition, but closed this edition in 2009 anyway. In January 2012 Urban – launched in 2001 closed down in total.
- Metro, the only remaning paper, was sold to Swiss publisher Tamedia (of 20 Minuten) and totally re-branded.
Denmark had also one business free paper: ErhvervsBladet, free from 2004 to 2006.
In 2007 the market share of free newspapers was more than 60% , in 2013 this dropped to less than 30%.
More covers on Pinterest.
January 16th, 2015
Metro Prague (Metro International) was the first international Metro launch outside Sweden in July 1997. In January 2006, local editions (Moravia & Bohemia) were launched. 60% of the shares were sold in December 2007 to competitor Mafra, owned by German publisher Rheinische Post. RP later increased its share.
Swis publisher Ringier launched 24 Hodin (24 hours) in Prague in November 2005. Ringier also publishes tabloid Blesk, a Sunday paper and two sports papers. Ringier is active in five Eastern European countries. 24 Hodin closed December 2008.
The crowded market saw a third free daily launched in 2006: Metropolitní Expres by Mafra (owned by German publisher Rheinische Post), also publisher of Mlada fronta Dnes and Lidove Noviny. The paper ceased publication April 2008 when it merged with the Czech Metro.
Kuryr Praha (by local investors) launched in April 2006. Kuryr did not survive the summer, the paper changed to a weekly but ceased publication soon afterwards.
In November 2007 free business paper E15 was launched in Prague by Mlada Fronta. Distribution is directly to businesses, office centers, hotels, universities, and government buildings while it will also be available in trains and at the airport. Later it expanded to Brno and Ostrava. Mlada Fronta publishes more than 20 magazines in the Czech Republic.
In the Czech Republic free dailies have a market share of ±25 percent.
January 15th, 2015
In 2012 24 Sata (24 hours), the last Croatian free daily, closed down. Styria Medien AG – also publisher of paid dailies Vecernji list and 24 Sata, launched a free afternoon edition with the same design as Styria’s Austrian free dailies OK in Graz and Kärnten.
24Sata started in april 2006 and had a circulation of 100,000 copies in the beginning, ending with 50,000.
Six weeks after 24 Sata Croatian publisher Europa Press Holding (EPH), the biggest newspaper publisher in Croatia (Jutarnji list), in which German publisher WAZ had a 50% stake, started Metro with four editions (Zagreb, Istria, Dalmatia and Sjeverozapadna Hrvatska). In 2007 editions for Slavonija and Rijeka were added.
Metro International had a nominal share (1%) in the company and the option to increase that to 50%. Metro could not use the Metro name because a publisher of a cultural magazine in Zagreb used this name already for 15 years, so Metro Express was used instead.
Four editions closed down in March 2008, the last Zagreb edition (left) was published in July. In the summer it was converted to a weekly, published on Fridays. In September 2008 the paper closed down.
January 13th, 2015
In 2008 two free dailies were launched in Bulgaria: 19′ (19 minutes) by Bal Media AD, and Gradski vestnik (City Newspaper) by Economedia (paid daily Dnevnik).
A year later Novinite dnes (The Daily News) was launched while 19′ expanded from the capital Sofia to Varna, Bourgas and Plovd.
Novinite dnes closed within a year – it reported it would convert to a paid model, but we have found no proof of that.
Also Gradski vestnik ended publication in 2009. The three local editions of 19′ were terminated in 2011.
Total circulation (reported by publishers) was more than half a million in 2008. In the last years 19′ reports a circulation of 120,000 copies.
January 12th, 2015
Belgium also has a “Metro”, but not the Swedish one.
In 2000 Metro Belgium was launched, probably the first free daily with different (Dutch and French) language editions.
The paper is now published by Mass Transit Media, owned by publisher Concentra (Belang van Limburg). It cooperates with Metro International on sales.
Until 2008 circulation increased from 150,000 to more than 250,000 – in 2014 200,000 copies are distributed. In Belgium Metro has a market share of 15%.
See Pinterest page for covers.
January 6th, 2015
Free newspaper circulation tends to decline in Europe. In seven countries free newspapers have disappeared, in most of the remaining countries the number of titles has dropped while circulation went down.
But not in Austria. Since the launch of the first free daily in 2001 (U-Express) the country saw a rise in titles and circulation in 2006, the closure of three titles in 2008 and 2009 but a rise in circulation from 2009 on.
Responsible for the rise are Heute and Österreich. The first with three editions and a circulation of more than 600,000 in 2014; the second distributes more than 400,000 free copies in addition to their paid circulation – in six editions. The third remaining free is TT Kompakt, a free edition of the Tiroler Tageszeitung with a circulation of 12,000.
Heute is attached by family-ties to the market leader in Austria, Kronen Zeitung. Eva Dichand is director of the free daily, her husband Christoph is publishing the paid paper. No official ties as German publisher WAZ, 50%-owner of Kronen, does not approve of free papers. Heute is often accused of relying heavily of government or government-related advertising (roads, housing, parties, public transport – as a results of political ties) while it is also unclear which financial parties are behind the publisher.
Österreich is published by Wolfgang Fellner, a long-standing enemy of all other Austrian publishers.
Austrian paid circulation is under 2 million, meaning that almost 40% of the circulation in 2014 was free.
See country page for links and Pinterest page for covers.
January 5th, 2015
In the tiny country of Andorra the development of free newspapers followed the Spanish – or actually the Catalonian – model. A quick rise in new titles around 2005.
Two free dailies were launched: Més Andorra and Bon Dia. Both of them are still published. Bon Dia has a sister paper in Lleida, there is also a Mes-paper published in the Barcelona area. Both papers publish in Catalan.
Bondia (La Veu del Poble SL) started in January 2004, Més Andorra (Comunicación Efectiva SL.) in October 2005. There are also two paid newspapers in Andorra.
Circuation of both papers is not audited anymore by Introl, acccording to their own websites, circulation is around 5000 (Bon Dia) and 8000 (Més). All covers – in larger formats – are on the Newspaper Innovation Pinterest page.
January 2nd, 2015
Free daily 20 minutos is no fan of Google News leaving Spain. This as a result of the ‘link tax’ that charges website for external links… actually a law specifically aimed at Google, and something publishers in other countries want to copy.
This message of editor in chief Arsenio Escolar appears on the 20 Minutos website.
Actually, it’s the Google Translate version (is that legal in Spain?), I know Arsenio and he speaks much better english than that. This is the original version.
January 2nd, 2015
In a few weeks we will see the 2oth birthday of the first ‘modern’ free daily in the world. Metro Stockholm launched on February 13 1995.
On this blog – updated not quite as often as it used to be – we will cover the development of this rather recent media model worldwide.
On February 13 we will covefr Sweden, and in the coming weeks al other European countries with free dailies. After that we will do the rest of the world.
Starting with Europe, and with A.
Albinia. A country with lots of newspapers (you cannnot start a political party without one).
One paper so far discovered in Albania: Agon, according to Wikipedia launched in 2007, last issue online from August 2013. The website was unavailable in 2014. The circulation is unknown.