Metro celebrates the anniversary of free daily newspapers: - 15 years of innovation

Stockholm, Sweden - Metro International, the international newspaper group, today announced the fifteenth anniversary of the modern free daily newspaper. Launched in Stockholm 13 February 1995 as the first ever free daily newspaper, Metro has revolutionized the print media industry with its smart format, unique distribution and ability to attract a large, hard-to-reach young active urban audience.
In its first year, Metro became the second largest newspaper in Stockholm and delivered profits. Ten years later Metro was announced ’World’s Largest Global Newspaper’ by Guinness World Records. Metro has received several prestigious M&M Awards[1] and Metro was last year awarded ’Newspaper of the Year’ by Festival of Media. With 17 million daily readers in 19 countries Metro has become the biggest success story of the newspaper industry.
Fifteen years after the free daily newspaper was born, paid for newspapers struggle with declining circulation giving rise to headlines about the death of print. Free daily newspapers experience no difficulty in attracting young readers with the number of readers per copy going up. Today free daily newspapers are published in virtually all major metropolises around the world; their circulation has more than doubled in the past 5 years. One out of five newspapers published in Europe are free, 37 million copies a day are published world-wide.
The reason behind the success of free daily newspapers is their ability to constantly innovate and adapt to the needs of the 21st century consumer. Indeed, many of the innovations of the free daily newspapers have been copied by traditional print titles, such as the smaller format and creative advertising solutions. * The best things in life are free. Free is more relevant than ever and the best way to attract a large audience in an increasingly fragmented media world. The Evening Standard has acknowledged this and re-launched as a free daily after more than 180 years as a paid for. Other traditional media go in the opposite direction by trying to charge for online content, something which would give Metro a competitive advantage also in the online business. * We know our readers. Thanks to its smart distribution Metro, unlike subscription based titles, can chose its audience and make a newspaper relevant to their needs. Metro is designed to be a 20 minute read in a small convenient format for young people on the move. Metro has managed to do what paid for titles have failed to do - to attract the young readers. * There are things only the world’s largest newspaper can do. Metro have 500 journalists around the world making a high quality product relevant to its target audience.
Cristina Stenbeck, representative of the main owner of Metro International and head of the founding family, commented:
Fifteen years ago my father saw the brilliance of the simple idea of distributing a newspaper for free. Metro is unique as it has made news available to everyone. More young people read newspapers today and Metro is used as a teaching tool in classrooms around the world
Per Mikael Jensen, CEO and President of Metro International commented:
The Metro newspaper is a fantastic revolution. Every day millions of young urban professionals and students read Metro during their morning commute. I would like to celebrate Metro’s, and the free newspaper industry’s 15th anniversary by thanking our readers and advertisers alike for making this small revolution possible. I promise that Metro, and the free newspaper industry, will keep on innovating and shaping the future of print media for also the 15 years to come
Per Mikael Jensen will be available for interviews upon request.
ABOUT METRO
Metro is the largest international newspaper in the world. Metro is available free of charge in over 100 major cities in 19 countries across Europe, North & South America and Asia. Metro has a unique global reach - attracting a young, active, well-educated Metropolitan audience of 17 million daily readers. Metro International S.A. shares are listed on Nasdaq OMX Stockholm through Swedish Depository Receipts of series A and series B under the symbols MTROA and MTROB
[1] Awarded by Marketing & Media Magazine, the largest international trade publication on the media industry including 2006 M&M Award for Best Contribution by a Media Owner for Nokia, 2007 M&M Award for Best Use of Print for Xbox, 2008 M&M Award for Best Contribution by a Media Owner for HP, 2009 M&M Award for Best Contribution by a Media Owner for Nokia

Source: WEBWIRE