Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Metro CEO laments slow U.S. rollout

Per Mikael Jensen, the former Danish TV executive who became chief executive of free-daily giant Metro International in November, told the Wall Street Journal that he wishes his company would have expanded faster in the U.S.

Metro has been successful in most of the industrialized world, launching some 70 editions in 23 countries since 1995. But in the U.S., Metro has only three editions with a combined circulation of 630,000. Metro started in Philadelphia in January 2000, followed by Boston in May 2001 and finally New York in May 2004.

Jensen told the Journal that Metro made some mistakes in the U.S. by not expanding quickly into enough cities. As a result, it wasn't big enough to get the attention of major advertisers. "We probably needed to come into not three cities but 10 cities," Jensen said. Metro put the three papers up for sale in January, but so far there have been no takers.