Knesset passes anti “Israel Hayom” bill

November 24th, 2014

Israel Today 2012The Israeli parliament has aproved the first reading of a bill that proposes to make the free distribution of newspapers illegal.

The bill is clearly targeted at free newspaper Israel Yahom (Israel Today) as it stipulates that it only concerns newspapers that are distributed 6 days a week and have at least 30 pages on weekdays and 100 pages in its weekend edition. The only free competitor, Israel Post, is published 5 days a week and is also much thinner.

Israel Yahom, financed by “the richest jew in the world”, US-casino bilionaire Sheldon Adelson, is a strong supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the bill a disgrace.

The bill is meant to protect paid newspapers agains Israel Hayom, by far the best-read paper in the country.

Globes, the business paper that reported on the bill, however, does not expect the bill to be apporved in parliament.

Österreich wants to cover all of Vienna

October 1st, 2014

gross_mon-don_webFree Austrian newspare Österreich will start to distribute next week to all Vienna households. The paper wants to target people who avoid advertising.

The action will take place on three days: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Household distribution will amount to motre than one million copies. Another 600.000 copies will be distributed in th etraditional way. (Die Presse)

1.5 million visitors for Metro UK website

August 25th, 2014

Metro was the fastest growing UK newspaper website in July 2014, more than 1.5 daily browsers visited the website according to ABC.

The website is produced by the Mail Online and is operated separate from the print edition.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 09.00.31

Metro was the 7th most popular newspaper website, Mail Online (11 million daily browsers), and The Guardian (6 million) lead.  (Press Gazette)

Metro US acquires Philadelphia City Paper

August 15th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 14.59.10Metro US, operating three editions in the USA: Philadelphia, New York and Boston, has bought the alternative free weekly Philadelphia City Paper from its owner, the Rock family.

The Philadelphia City Paper was founded 32 years ago, Metro Philadelphia started in 2000 as the first US edition. It is no longer aprt of the Metro International group but operated as a franchise.

The City Paper will continue as a separate editorial operation.

The two publications jointly reach over 840,000 Philadelphians every week and deliver to the most attractive and vibrant audience in Philadelphia. (Businesswire)

Second Kenya free daily within 6 months

July 29th, 2014

people-daily_2014A few months after the launch of XNEWS, the first Kenyan free daily (see previous post), a second free newspaper entered the scene: People Daily.

This paper was formerly the paid The People newspaper while claims to be the first ‘national’ free daily – as XNEWS is only distributed in Nairobi.

The paper is published by Mediamax Network Ltd. (founded in 2009), a media firm active in radio and TV.

Mediamax is a media company associated with President Uhuru Kenyatta according to allAfrica. This website quotes Aly-Khan Satchu, chief executive officer of Nairobi-based Rich Management Ltd.:

“The owners have deep pockets and possess political raison d’etre, and most probably the goal is to give the allies of the president a platform that can reach the masses”

People Daily wants to compete the Daily Nation (circulation around 170,000) and The Standard (48,000), it claims to distribute 110,000 copies.

Free daily newspapers have been scarce in sub-Sahara Africa, only South-Africa had some titles a few years ago. Also a government-owned free daily is published in Botswana. Free weeklies are more common.

Bill McDonald leaves Metro Canada

July 28th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 13.40.11As parent company Torstar Corp. is integrating free Metro with its other print operations of the Star Media Group, president and publisher Bill McDonald will leave the company.

McDonald held the position since 2010, he started in 2006 at Metro.

These things are always a little bittersweet,I look back fondly on the last eight plus years” he told the Globe and Mail.

Jeremy Bryant left Metro

July 28th, 2014

jeremyOne of the ‘oldest’ Metro-people – allthough still young – has left Metro International.

Jeremy Bryant has worked on all kinds of project at Metro. He worked miracles at distribution and launching new editions all over the world, and was involved in all kinds of commercial and marketing projects as well. his latest job was Vice President Global Marketing and Logistics.

Bryant worked at more than a dozen countries for Metro (and was an exremely nice guy as well, and someone to have a drink with!)

At his new website his jobs, projects and positions are listed.

Also Maggie Samways, Executive Vice President left Metro.

XNEWS Nairobi

July 27th, 2014

xnews_nairobi_2014Free paper XNEWS in the Kenian capital Nairobi is now published for almost 6 months. It was launched on March 30 of this year.

The paper is published in the afternoons, five days a week, and usually counts 16 pages.

XNews has a circulation of 25,000 to 35,000 copies and wants to expand that to 50,000 by the end of the year according to Ghafla! that also states that it wants to compete in circulation with the two leading papers in Kenya: Nation and The Standard.

Publisher is Paul Marshall; Neema Wamae (formerly working for Nation and The Standard) is the commercial director while Brian Moseti (formerly The Standard) is editor (Newslineafrica).

E-papers can be viewed on

Dutch free daily Spits closes

July 18th, 2014

In October Dutch free daily Spits will close after more than 15 years. Some of the contents will be merged into competitor Metro, also owned by Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG).

Metro and Spits both were launched on June 21 1999.

After TMG bought Metro in 2012, it tried to target the two titles at different audiences. Metro would be more ‘newsy’ and serious, aimed at a somewhat more mature audience; Spits would contain more sports and entertainment and target a younger audience.

As distribution was still at the same places (public transport mostly) this strategy did not work out. Spits had also troubles because it was forced to close already at 21.00 every night, so it missed some of the sports news.

TMG has a franchise contract with Metro International so closing Metro would result in a fine for TMG.

At the same time the publisher combined distribution, sales and the editorial departments – the two brands had one editor in chief.

Apparentely the move has not succeeded, Metro is going to be the only remaining free paper, following a trend visible in other European countries where competition is substituted by monopoly.

The website of Spits will remain.

TMG says it will increase the circulation to more than 500.000 in 2015.


Soccer fever hits Belgium: Metro carries national colors

June 17th, 2014

Metro vlagThe soccer World Championship is celebrates by most free dalies in the countries that participate. On this Pinterst page some examples are collected.

The Belgium Metro does ad an extra gimmick. On every day the Belgium team plays (three day at least, starting today), all Metro will have the national flag painted on the outside fold.

This is best seen when they are stacked in their boxes.

On the Pinterst site the Dutch and French language papers are also pictured in the front view.

The e-papers can be read here.