Free daily Metro 'stays in profit' despite media recession

Morning freesheet Metro made an operating profit for owners Associated Newspapers even during the darkest point of the recession in 2009, the Financial Times reported today.

The paper, which is distributed at stations, tube stops and on buses and trams in 16 cities and towns across the UK, relies solely on revenue from advertising from the 1.3m copies it gives away each day.

Despite Daily Mail and General Trust, parent company of Associated Newspapers, not revealing the revenue brought to it individually by the Metro, it has made an operating profit for the last seven years, the FT said.

The high volume of ads also reflects Metro’s willingness to transform itself for the sake of an advertising campaign: often with a wraparound cover devoted to a new product, while certain sections are sponsored by a brand.
Advertisers can even ask the newspaper’s editorial team to help write advertising content, disposing of the traditional division between a newspaper’s commercial and editorial teams.
On the cost side, outsourcing curbs overheads. Printing, distribution and local advertising is outsourced and merchandising is also contracted out.

The future of Metro was secured in March when won the contract to continue to be distributed at London bus and underground stations.

Metro’s ten-year distribution contract was up for renewal in April prompting speculation that it would come under pressure from other publishers keen to get their papers into the tube network.

However, Transport for London renewed its deal with Associated Newspapers for another seven and a half years.

The renewal also came after Metro sought to remove substantial costs from the business by making a number of redundancies at its regional centres.

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