Monday, December 19, 2005

Metro to add 17 cities in Sweden

Metro, the European free daily publisher, plans to begin distributing 17 free dailies in 17 more Swedish cities, according to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Chicago Red Streak ends Thursday

The Chicago Sun-Times will publish the final edition of its youth-oriented tabloid, Red Streak, this coming Thursday, December 22.

The free paper, launched more than three years ago in response to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye, which went from paid to free in September. Soon thereafter Sun-Times Publishers John Cruickshank said he was considering closing down Red Streak.

“They’ve conceded they can’t sell newspapers to young people,” Cruickshank said. “From our perspective, we just didn’t need to do it any longer ... The battle was just too expensive to go on.”

He declined to disclose the cost to the Sun-Times of Red Streak’s three-year run. But he said there would be no staff layoffs as a result of folding the publication.

RedEye Publisher Brad Moore was not immediately available for comment.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Metro reports readership is up 22%

Metro reports that it's readership is up 22 percent compared to last year, and that it now reaches 18.5 million people a day. The survey also shows that, unlike paid newspapers, 74 percent of Metro's readers are under 50 years of age. "This survey demonstrates the popularity of the Metro concept especially among young and urban professionals," said CEO Pelle Törnberg (photo at left).

Monday, November 28, 2005

Paid newspapers will become the 'niche'

Metro chief executive Pelle Tornberg predicts that over the long term, free papers will dominate and paid papers will mainly be purchased on weekend. "If you apply the pay TV and free TV [model] to the newspaper industry, then the paid-for newspapers probably have to accept living with smaller circulation and probably increasing their prices, increasing the exclusivity," Tornberg was quoted as saying.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Free daily 'Dirt' switches to weekly schedule

The Scripps-owned Boulder Daily Camera is changing its youth-oriented daily "Dirt" from a daily to a weekly, effective Dec. 22. Publisher Greg Anderson said the decision was based on cost efficiency. The move comes two months after Scripps bought the free Colorado Daily, another Boulder paper.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Metro reports sales gains, overall losses

Metro International's three U.S. dailies — in New York, Boston and Philadelphia — jumped 32% in the third quarter from $5.8 million to $7.7 million. The jump was fueled mostly by the launch of its New York City edition in May 2004. However, sales in Philly were up by 10% from last year.

Still, the three papers lost $2.6 million for a margin of minus 25%. "Metro New York halved its operating loss year-on-year in the third quarter," it said.

Metro said its Boston paper, which is now 49% owned by The New York Times Co., "is strengthening after a disappointing start to the year." In September, the paper reported record monthly sales and operating profits, it said.

Metro New York recorded sales records in May, June, and September, the company said, with third-quarter revenues up by more than 50% from the first quarter.

Metro said its three U.S. editions have an average daily circulation of almost 700,000, "making Metro the fifth largest general interest newspaper on the Eastern Seaboard and the sixth largest nationally."

This week, Metro launched its 59th daily, a national paper circulating in eight additional cities in Spain.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A personal note

Two weeks ago I suffered a stroke that has affected my ability to speak. It is funny that God would decide to shut off my mouth considering that I made a living in the 1960s and 70s as a newscaster, and as a salesman in the 80s and 90s. I'm also having trouble with my balance. My doctor says I need a wheelchair, but I am not about to go there. I have begun sessions of physiotherapy and speech therapy. I will continue to engage in the hobbies I love — painting, walking, reading and writing this blog. This experience has been terrifying and shocking at the same time. But I am determined not to let this stroke ruin my life. Still, I probably won't be calling you anytime soon. Feel free to e-mail me at

Monday, September 26, 2005

Early free daily sold to Scripps newspapers

The Colorado Daily was a student newspaper at the University of Colorado at Boulder that was booted off of campus in 1971 because of its anti-Vietnam war coverage. The independence caused the paper's editors to spread their wings and start covering the entire city of Boulder, not just the campus. The Colorado Daily became the first free daily newspaper. And it explains why so many other free dailies have sprouted up in Colorado over the years -- in Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Telluride, Steamboat Springs, Douglas County and even Denver.

In 2001, the Colorado Daily found itself in serious money trouble and the paper, controlled by a non-profit board, was sold to former Detroit Free Press editor and Lee Enterprises executive Randy Miller. And now, Miller has sold the paper to the Scripps newspaper company.

Ironically, the Colorado Daily has always been a hard left-wing, neo-socialist newspaper. Now it's controlled by a conservative newspaper chain.

Moreover, the Colorado Daily is now owned by the parent company of its crosstown rival, the Boulder Daily Camera, and Denver's Rocky Mountain News.

Colorado Daily reports it has been sold to Scripps
A history of the Colorado Daily
Westword: Mum's the word about Colorado Daily sale

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Washington Express 'doing great financially'

We picked up the following article from the Baltimore Daily Record about the Washington Express, the fred daily the Washington Post has launched to fend off other free dailies that might enter the market. Since we can't find a Web link to this article, here it is below:
    "Express," a free, tabloid-style daily newspaper targeted at Washington-area commuters, is expanding in the face of dropping circulation at its parent paper, The Washington Post.

    Express, launched a year ago in part to encourage 18- to 34-year- olds to read the Post, has added 25,000 copies per day, bringing its daily circulation total to 175,000. Company executives said they will look to distribute more of the papers at college campuses and other places with heavy foot traffic around Washington in coming months.

    "The paper is doing great financially. We've brought in a lot of new [advertisers] that weren't or had stopped using the Post," Arnie Applebaum, general manager of the Express, said. "The cool thing is that many of the readers didn't read the Washington Post much beforehand. We've been trying to grow the audience for the Post."

    But the success of Express, which embeds references to the Post in stories from The Associated Press and other wire services, has not spilled over to its parent paper.

    In the six months leading up to the launch of Express, the Post saw a year-over-year circulation drop of 1.9 percent for its daily and 1.1 percent for its Sunday edition, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    During the same six months this year, average circulation of the Post's daily edition declined 3.3 percent to 727,100 copies - a loss of more than 24,000 readers. The Sunday paper's average circulation dropped 2.6 percent during the time to slightly more than 1 million, according to the filings.

    The trend lines have led some to question Express's effect on Post readership.

    "We've argued previously that The Post's large geographic footprint creates the potential for disproportionate declines as it faces a lot of competition on the periphery," Deutsche Bank securities analyst Paul Ginocchio wrote in a research note. "But another open issue is whether Express - is cannibalizing The Post."

    Post Publisher Boisfeuillet Jones Jr. in May told the New York Times the popularity of Express and had been siphoning readers from the Post.

    Washington Post representatives did not return calls for comment.

    Sandy K. Yielding, marketing director for Express, said the research shows Express readers are turning to the Post.

    "We feel, through research, that it is working, she said. It's been looked at quite heavily and we have not ascertained that Express has caused [the drop in Post circulation] at all."

    Applebaum pointed to the locations in which Express is distributed and the Post is sold.

    "Our circulation department reports that at those locations -- more Posts are selling at the boxes now than before [Express] was published, he said. There is absolutely nothing to point to the fact that Express is cannibalizing the Post."

    The circulation drop at the Post is part of a larger trend that began in 1990 when the average daily circulation of U.S. newspapers began declining 1 percent annually.

    In response, a number of newspapers have launched free dailies in an attempt to lure younger readers.

    Only around 40 percent of people age 18 to 34 read a paper on weekdays, compared to about 70 percent for people age 45 to 64, according to Scarborough Research, which tracks consumer habits.

    Copyright 2004 Dolan Media Newswires

Thursday, June 23, 2005

New free daily stops another one cold in its tracks

The new Berkeley, Calif.-based East Bay Daily News, an off-shoot of the successful Palo Alto Daily News, appears to have upset the plans by MediaNews owner Dean Singleton and San Francisco Bay Area editor David Burgin to start a free daily of their own in Berkeley called the Daily Flash. Dave Price of the Palo Alto Daily News says his company has been looking at the East Bay for years -- in deed, the URLs registrations he has for Berkeley Daily News and East Bay Daily News date back to 2001 -- but one wonders whether the prospect of a rival free daily in Berkeley got Price and partner Jim Pavelich energized to rush the East Bay Daily News into production. This story by Michael Stoll of the web site "Grade The News" says Burgin was planning the Daily Flash for a year and a half before Price and Pavelich beat him to the punch.

Certainly the two free papers would have been different animals. The Daily Flash was designed for the youth market while Price and Pavelich are shooting for more of a community newspaper feel, trying to reach all segments.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Free papers sprout up all over the country

The newspaper brokerage firm of Dirks, Van Essen & Murray wrote this detailed report on the growing free daily industry. It's their business to know about such papers since they represent buyers and sellers of publications. The chart at the end of the piece is the most comprehensive list of free dailies in the United States that we've seen. It was accurate as of early 2005.