French free dailies confirm negotiations

May 29th, 2014

20minutes_grenoble_2013Olivier Bonsart, director of French free daily 20 Minutes (Schibsted and Sipa-Ouest France) not only thinks that there are toon many free dailies in France, he is also talking with his colleagues from Metro (owned by TF1) and Direct Matin (Bolloré and local publishers) about merging operations.

Bonsart confirmed this at a press conference. There is nothing decided yet but there a official talks between the owners.

The three dailies had losses of 18 million in 2013. The situation with three dailies in one country, each with a national coverage, is unique in Europe.

In June or the beginning of July 20 Minutes will also launch a new website. (CB News)

Metro UK loses digital readership

May 26th, 2014

The integration of the Metro UK digital brand into the digital operation of the Daily Mail (see previous post) has not paid off in terms of more visitors.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Metro reported a 15% fall in monthly unique browsers in April.

The number of monthly visitors is now 23 million, stil an impresive number, sverage daily browsers fell 10% to just over one million.

London Evening Standard’s site,, saw monthly traffic grow to 5 million. Daily average browsers rose to 236,689. (The Guardian)

Slovenian free daily Zurnal24 will close

May 11th, 2014

After 7 years the curtain falls for free daily Zurnal24 in Slovenia. The paper was launched in the fall of 2007 in 5 editions: Lubliana, Primorska, Gorenjska, Dolenjska en Stajerska.

zurnal24 copy

The paper, owned by Austrian media group Styria, had a circulation of more than 100,000 and claimed a daily readerhip of 239,000. Also the weekly Zurnal and the website will close down.

The owner says that it has not succeeded in making the papers profitable. And with the weak economy they don’t expect that it wil be profitable in the near future.

Around 50 people will be affected by the closure.

Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung wrote that the papers made several millions of losses every year, in total more than € 40 million.

Heute (Austria) reaches 4 million online users

April 20th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 13.56.23Austrian free daily Heute saw its online reach increase with 12% compared to March 2013.

Accoding to Österreichische Web-Analyse (ÖWA) reached Heute in Marchz 2014 4.,056,000 Unique users, an increase of 120 % compared to last year.

Heute has 6 different portals (see right): news, tv & cinema, tickets & events, fitness, a “Groupon” like portal and health. (OTS)

Loses for 20 Minutes France and 20 Minutos Spain

April 11th, 2014

The annual report 2013 of Norwegian mediahouse Schibsted revealed that the 20 Minutes operations in Spain and France are still losing money.

In 2013 this amounted to 37 million NOK (€4.5 million), thanks to cost cutting this was les than in 2013 (48 million NOK).

In Spain the economic situation is still a major problem, 20 Minutos is still the market leader in newspapers.

In France there is fierce competition between three free dailies: 20 Minutes, Metro and DirectMatin. Publishers are thinking about merging titles.

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 15.40.03

Can you go online and make money? The 20 Minuten example

April 5th, 2014

20minuten2013Swiss free newspaper 20 Minuten is not only the best-read paper in the country – and the paper with the highest circulation, but also the most succesful Swiss online paper.

20 Minuten never bothered about cannibaliztion and embraced (and invested in) online from the start. The paper has a fully integrated print/online newsroom, and has a “web first” strategy.

Swiss media website Persoenlich contained an interview (in German) with 20 Minuten editor Marco Boselli: “Die Rock’n'Roll-Band unter den Medien”.

Subjects: the integrated newsroom, the use of interns, copy/paste journalism, service-journalism, apps, magazines and profits:

“Ich kenne die Rentabilitäten anderer Tageszeitungen leider nicht. Aber ja, es läuft uns gut, und wir leisten sicher einen schönen Beitrag an die Zahlen von Tamedia.”

Commuter website for Irish Metro

April 5th, 2014

logo-betaMetro Ireland launched a new website: GoMetro, aimed a commuters.

Apart from ‘regular’ news, there are special sections for people using busses, cars or train. (AdWorld)

Anti-Israel Today bill proposed

April 5th, 2014

Israel Today 2012Six members from the Israeli parliament, representing different parties (Labor, Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi, Hatnua, Shas and Yesh Atid), have proposed a bill that would, in their words “strengthen written journalism in Israel and ensure equal and fair conditions of competition between newspapers”.

Eitan Cabel (labor) said that “Free newspapers also hurt journalism as well as pluralism and democracy in Israel.”

The bill is complicated, it “applies only to the four newspapers with the highest circulation (…) The lowest-priced newspaper of the four cannot cost less than 70 percent of the second-lowest-priced paper.”

It is clearly aimed at Israel Today, the largest (and free) newspaper in the country that supports Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Post)

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.