Metro, the freebie daily that is linking up with the NY Times – at least in classified ads – has just celebrated its fifth birthday in America. How is it doing? According to its parent company, based in Sweden which puts out editions in some 60 cities around the world, the American version is doing better than anyone expected. Today the giveaway is handed out in railway stations and bus depots in three of America’s biggest cities, New York, Philadelphia and Boston. It claims an average daily circulation in New York of 325,000; in Philadelphia 143,000; and in Boston l70,000 – a total of well over 600,000.
And, according to Daniel Magnus, the publisher in charge in New York, the circulation is climbing in the high-double digit percentages. He is predicting an increase of 70 per cent by the end of this year. The same goes for advertising, which it is assumed will be assisted by the plan, just announced, to share classified ads with the NY Times. There are also plans to expand to other cities soon, although which ones no-one will say at the moment. Also it plans to expand its websites. Metro claims that its readership is much better than anyone predicted – among them the college educated and affluent. Magnus claims that Metro is targeted at a market that has virtually abandoned newspapers, the l8 to 39 year olds – and is reaching that market with tremendous success. One of its secrets, Magnus adds, is that it is easy to read – in 15 minute ‘bites”. Its coverage in addition to regular news ranges from sports, business to life-style and entertainment. Boxes stuffed every day with copies are found these days along most subway routes, at bus stops, college campuses, in office buildings and retail stores.